Weekly Column: Mayor Mohammed Zaman
Date published: 08 February 2019
Mayor Mohammed Zaman
Hate Crime Awareness Week has been launched in Rochdale this week, as well as in other places around Greater Manchester. Our aim is to highlight that hate crime has no place in our borough and that everyone has the right to feel safe and to live without the fear of this crime.
We all have a collective responsibility to act and report a hate crime if we witness it or experience it. We need to love one another and our beautiful borough as when we are together, we are a stronger community.
Physical scars can always heal, but mental scars can remain.
Week commencing Monday 28 January – Sunday 3 February
Tuesday and Saturday, I had no engagements.
Monday, I had a meeting with Mary Adekugbe, the founder of Rochdale’s Nigerian Community Association. We discussed the group’s official launch event to be held at Rochdale Town Hall on Wednesday 20 February, which will also be a fundraiser for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal.
I encourage people to attend and try to learn more about Nigerian culture in Rochdale. More information on the event can be found here:
I attended Middleton Arena and Middleton Memorial Gardens to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Holocaust.
A memorial service and a minute of silence was held at the memorial gardens, where the Middleton Holocaust Memorial Stone is situated, before we went to the arena to watch a video, view a heart wrenching presentation and listened to poems. A local man, Henry West, told his story of how he was very young when he lost his parents to the Holocaust, we all felt the emotion in the room.
Thank you to all those who attended the memorial event, including members of Rochdale Multi-Faith Partnership, Ann Jones and Robin Parker, faith leaders, community representatives, councillors and all the young people who understood the importance of this remembrance for the next generation. It shows that as a community, we are very strong.
Wednesday, I was invited to a tree planting at Queen’s Park to mark the 80th anniversary of Manchester Airport. A time capsule was buried beneath the oak tree containing letters from the children at St Luke’s School, newspaper cuttings, a pin to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One and a Heywood in Bloom brochure presented to the awards committee of North West in Bloom.
I praise all the people who came to the planting despite the minus temperatures to mark the occasion and was glad to speak with local school children who have strong visions for their future. Thanks to councillors Peter Malcolm, Ray Dutton and Peter Rush, who is the chair of Heywood Township Committee, for attending as well as the children and teachers from St Luke’s, the Friends of Queen’s Park and all others who joined us.
Thursday morning, I attended the Veteran’s Breakfast Club in the Clock Tower Dining Room. This is always a busy event as veterans from around the borough join together for a catch up and to get advice from the council officer for the Armed Forces, Caen Matthews.
At this session, Councillor Faisal Rana, who served 15 years in the Pakistan Navy, presented the club with a £510 cheque. The money was raised after Faisal kindly asked local businesses, individuals and organisations to donate to the club on Facebook to support the veterans and remember their services.
The veterans always support local initiatives and I appreciate and praise all the work that they do. I am proud to say that we have a strong veteran’s group in Rochdale.
Evening, I went to the Hilton Hotel in Manchester for the British Education Awards 2019. I was invited here alongside other mayors to present awards and celebrate the achievements of GCSE to degree level students from across the UK.
Thank you to Mohammad Habeebullah OBE JP who sponsored the awards with his private education charity, Al Habeeb Foundation, and invited me to the event. He does a lot of important work in communities including supporting my Mayor’s Charity as he is originally from Rochdale and is the founder of the Kashmir Youth Project.
Friday morning, I went to Newlands School in Middleton for their Childer Award Assembly, where the Rochdale Childer award was presented to one of the pupils. Staff nominate pupils at Newlands to receive this award for many different reasons such as progress, excellent behaviour, support for others or for keeping positive during difficult times.
I was given a tour of the school before the assembly and during the assembly, there was a presentation before the children sang a beautiful song with lyrics I will always remember: ‘life is so much fun when we’re all together’. I was honoured and pleased to be there along with other councillors, parents and teachers. It really proved that if you have support and encouragement, you can achieve your potential.
Thank you to the headteacher, Catherine Lamb, for inviting me.
It is always a pleasure for me to be invited to Springhill Hospice as I am proud to have such an organisation in Rochdale. I was invited on Friday to present Palliative Care Education Passports to volunteers who have developed their skills through the programme and raised the level of dignity and compassion they can show to people in care and nursing homes.
I gave thanks to the attendees who had finished the course and widened their knowledge of palliative care. I really value the job you all do and the commitments you make to recognise the needs of the individuals in your care. It took me a long time to present and congratulate as there were so many who took part.
Thanks to Jane Ashworth and Claire Tallantyre who provide the training and thank you to all those who continue to support the hospice; without the support from the community it would be very difficult to maintain.
Friday afternoon, I was asked to go to Rochdale Interchange with Rochdale’s MP, Tony Lloyd, for the launch of two new bus services. The first new service is a bus travelling from Rochdale to Fairfield Hospital every 10 minutes and the second is a new bus to Littleborough every 15 minutes.
The new service to Fairfield Hospital is especially good as public parking at hospitals can be difficult
Thank you to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) who asked me to attend the launch and the representative from TfGM who came to officially launch the new bus routes. They are always working hard to get better transport for Rochdale.
I had an interview in the evening with my consort, Mohammed Sheraz, for Sky channel 777. They were interested about learning more about me and how I came to be the Mayor of Rochdale. We started from my childhood and I told of how I moved to Rochdale and worked a labour job before working my way up to become a councillor and eventually the mayor. I also described what my aims are for my year as the mayor and why I chose the charities I did.
I always say that I see myself as a community worker, not a politician, and I always try to do my best for our borough. I’m glad I have the connections I do, and it is an honour and pleasure to be in this role. So far, I think I’m doing OK.
It was a different but good experience for me and Sheraz.
Sunday, I attended Littleborough United Reformed Church for their 150-year anniversary service. The church is a very old building but has been very well maintained over the years with a beautiful church hall and a community room, which hosts many events.
The service was well attended by the local community and ward councillors. This was the first time I have sat through a full church service and I imagined how many people had passed through the building throughout those 150 years.
I was honoured to receive flowers from the church, I have placed them in the Mayor’s Parlour where they are blooming. Congratulations to the church on their anniversary and I hope it can continue to thrive in the future with the local community continuing to attend.
On the day, two attendees, Stuart and Lindsay, also announced their engagement. I was glad I could be a part of your announcement and I wish you best of luck for the future. Congratulations.
The Mayor welcomes invitations to events held by local organisations and individuals. Due to demand, it may not be possible for the Mayor to attend every event he is invited to.
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