Council leader's column: Rochdale Pride "showcasing our borough at its best"

Date published: 30 June 2024

Neil Emmott is the leader of Rochdale Council and a councillor for West Middleton.

This month he dedicates his column to the return of Rochdale Pride, national carer's week, and the local D-Day anniversary commemorations. 

It was a great honour to join veterans, residents, and my fellow councillors at a special service of remembrance at Rochdale Cenotaph to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The community really came together to mark the day, remembering the service and sacrifice of all those involved, including many troops from across our borough, in turning the tide in the Second World War. D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history, marking the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe.

As leader of the council, I was very proud to lay a wreath at the cenotaph, in honour of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.


D-Day 80th Anniversary Service at Rochdale Cenotaph


I am pleased that Rochdale Rainbows, Rochdale Pride, is returning with a number of activities this summer. The celebration, which raises awareness of LGBTQ+ communities will take place over the coming weeks.

The main event will be the borough’s first Rochdale in Rainbows pride parade, on Saturday 13 July, which will take place outside Rochdale Town Hall. Community groups, partners, local businesses and dance groups will all be taking part in the parade, on a day which will showcase our borough at its very best.

We have around 20,000 carers in our borough and I want to take this opportunity, as we mark national Carers Week, to thank them for their work, supporting loved ones, friends and neighbours.

Our carers, including our many young carers, are the unsung heroes of our borough. Carers Week is a timely reminder of their wonderful work. Thank you for everything our carers do to enhance the quality of life for our older and vulnerable residents.

I am also proud that we hosted many events in our libraries for the Greater Manchester Festival of Libraries, including the Langley branch in my West Middleton ward.

As leader, I have ensured our 16 library branches have remained open, and all our libraries are excellent facilities at the heart of their communities. Across Middleton, for example, we have superb facilities like the newly refurbished Junction Library and Community Centre, thanks to £120,000 investment delivered by the council to enhance facilities and secure the future of this important asset in the heart of the community.

In addition, we are currently refurbishing our Castleton Library and Community Centre. The refurbishment is part of our ongoing commitment to the borough’s libraries and includes the creation of new meeting areas, improving customer access, and undertaking vital building work at these popular venues.

On Thursday 27 June, the borough will pay tribute to the outstanding contribution and service of our Armed Forces community, as part of Armed Forces Week

The week is about paying respects to our Armed Forces, past and present, who have led the way in protecting the freedoms, liberty and values we cherish so much.

The week is also about recognising all the sacrifices brave men and women have made and continue to make day in day out. We are so grateful for the ongoing service, dedication and work of our Armed Forces to keep us all safe.

As a council we have always stood shoulder to shoulder with our Armed Forces community. We are proactive in our approach to supporting our Armed Forces family and understand the difficulties many face during and after transition from service. We are always there for you. Sentiments that underline why the week is so important and, as leader and a Middleton councillor, why I will be at Middleton Memorial Gardens to show my respect and gratitude to our Armed Forces.

Finally, our Rochdale Feel Good Festival is only two months away. Please save the weekend of Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August firmly in your diaries, as we have a wonderful line-up of music to enjoy in Rochdale town centre.

The Saturday line-up this year is our biggest and best yet and it’s great to have the main stage back where it belongs in the square next to out restored Grade 1 listed town hall.

Our borough has always been a pioneer of the very best in culture and arts and this day is another example our commitment to showcasing the very best music, dance and talented local acts. We look forward to welcoming music lovers old and new, for what is sure to be a weekend to remember.

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