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Social Action Fund

Social isolation and loneliness is a national priority and is equally so in Oldham with 10% of residents self-identifying as being lonely. That is why we made a commitment to work together to target the root causes of social isolation and loneliness in the Oldham Plan – a collective statement from organisations who serve Oldham, which explains how we can all best serve the place we love and help its people and places to thrive.

As part of this commitment, the Thriving Communities programme made a total fund of £850k available to fund up to five projects over a three year period that can enable people to become more socially connected.

Who can apply for the social action fund?

Applications are open to voluntary, community and faith groups/organisations working on their own or in partnership with others organisations (e.g. an alliance model of smaller or medium organisations).

Those applying will be able to demonstrate how their project can improve the lives of residents, show how the outcomes support the reduction on demand in the health and care systems, build community capacity to deliver the goals and priorities linked to the development of Oldham’s Integrated Care Organisation’s (ICO / Oldham Cares) transformation plan and meet the wider strategic objectives of the Oldham Plan.

Case study

Street Angels were awarded money to continue the already excellent work taking place in Oldham town centre on Saturday evenings and expanding into Friday nights. Teams of volunteers and medical staff are there to support those enjoying Oldham’s nightlife providing a listening ear, first aid and basic medical treatment as well as making sure people get home safely. As part of the programme, an evening drop-in and hot meals will be provided for people on the streets as well as future options for daytime support from the Street Angels centre.

Oldham Play Action Group and Wifi NW were also awarded money; the group provide all-age cookery courses to bring children, parents, carers and older socially isolated people together to prepare and cook meals. The groups, run by Oldham Play Action Group (OPAG) and Wifi North West, will also encourage people to engage in active physical play as well as organise community play street events to join neighbourhoods together.

Fast Grants

Central to the Thriving Communities Programme is our Fast Grants project.

What is a fast grant?

The Thriving Communities Programme is awarding fast grants which is a small amount of money, to an individual resident or a community group who have a great idea and require a small pot of money to deliver something at a local level which will build community capacity without introducing barriers or the unnecessary bureaucracy associated with many grant funding structures.

The aim is to encourage communities to work in an asset based way and to focus on what is strong within a community, to build on existing best practice and to try something new.

Some examples of what fast grants can be used for are as follows –
• Art and craft materials for a local group to set up and run a weekly craft group
• Groups to do photocopying to advertise their activities
• Refreshments for sessions

This fund is available to both constituted and non-constituted groups.  Each grant should be between £50 – £500. Higher amounts can be awarded, but will require additional review.

These grants are for the rapid delivery of small actions that will have tangible benefits and support the programmes outcomes e.g. funds for a service user day trip or refurbishing a room to bring it back into use. It will be a resource available to constituted and non-constituted groups.

We know these types of activity will make a real difference, enable dynamic decisions and build trust and also relieve pressure in the system. Given the small nature of these grants and the large volume of them, we will capture the benefit and narrative from these grants in qualitative ways and replay the good news stories into the system to demonstrate the positive impact this has on Oldham people’s lives.

Case Study
Buzy Bees were successful with their application for a Fast Grant of £300 to set up a sensory group on Fitton hill aimed at children under 18 months old with the aim of helping the parents to attend a positive group with their child/children. The group would enable the children to interact with other children and the parents will be able to socialise with other parents. The weekly group will promote positive mental health, support with parenting issues, and give parents an enjoyable engaging experience.

Many people have attended the groups and occasionally the group struggled to find rooms big enough to accommodate the number of people and the equipment. The feedback received from attendees was very positive and many went on to attend the different groups and some parents have asked about volunteering at the sessions.

Here is what some of the members had to say:

“The crafts are great memories that we keep. Gets me and my baby out of the house and socialising”

“Pearl and I had a great time today at our first group! Great mix of play and craft. Hope to come back again. Thank you”

“Really enjoyed, Ernie loved the sensory toys. Really enjoyable. Deffo come again”

“Love the lights and music for my little one. It’s good for my 3 month old to enjoy”

“Always lots to do and my babies have fun. Fab group”

The Green Oldham Campaign – are you green for Oldham?

The Green Oldham campaign launched in June 2018 and aims to engage residents in thinking about how they can be more green.  The campaign covers topics from air quality, energy and environmental education to food growing, recycling, parks and single-use plastics. 

To find out more, see our video playlist below or visit

Enter a 7-a-side team in local St George’s Day charity event

Local charity ‘0161 Community’ has arranged their first ever St George’s Day event taking place on Sunday 22 April to celebrate equality and diversity across our local communities.

The event will take place at Tameside Stadium, Ashton-under-Lyne kicking off with a football tournament from 9am – 12noon followed by delicious food and live music until 3pm

Why not get your colleagues, friends or family together and enter a seven a-side team? If you’ve got enough people to enter a team, email

Everyone who takes part will receive a free St George equality and diversity t-shirt on the day.

All ages are welcome so come along for a day of fantastic family fun. For more information, head over to their Facebook page.

Council deal looks to bring global brand to the borough

Oldham Council has agreed a deal that could bring an Audi dealership to the borough – representing an investment in the region of £8M and the creation of more than 80 jobs.

For further information please follow the following link:

Shopkeeper sentenced for underage alcohol sale

Oldham Council has successfully prosecuted a Chadderton shopkeeper who sold alcohol to children.

On January 27 Ibrar Razaq owner of Razaq News, on Victoria Street pleaded guilty to the offence at Oldham Magistrates’ Court following a test purchase.

The 34-year-old was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,883.

The prosecution follows a successful application by Trading Standards to review the shop’s alcohol licence.

Oldham Council Leader pledges: “The work goes on”

Oldham Council has confirmed the appointment of Jean Stretton as the local authority’s first ever female leader.

The Hollinwood councillor’s selection was approved at an ‘extraordinary’ meeting of Full Council tonight (January 27).

Cllr Stretton had been provisionally selected for the role by the ruling Labour group earlier this month.

She replaces Jim McMahon who is stepping aside to focus on his duties as the new MP for Oldham West and Royton following a parliamentary by-election in December.

Cllr Stretton, 57, had served as Deputy Leader to Cllr McMahon since June 2014.

She was raised on Alt Estate and educated at Alt Primary and Hathershaw Comprehensive schools. She has lived in Hollinwood since 1989 and was first elected as a ward councillor for the area in 2003.

She has held several Cabinet Member posts covering a wide range of areas that include housing, co-operatives and neighbourhoods, health and wellbeing, town centres, culture and tourism. She will now assume responsibility for regeneration, taking over this crucial brief from Councillor McMahon.

In 2013, Cllr Stretton was named ‘Community Champion of the Year’ at the C’llr Achievement Awards organised by the LGiU for what judges called her “inspiring work to help her community in Oldham recover following a gas explosion” in Shaw.

Married to John, she has two step-children, five grandchildren and a great granddaughter but describes herself as “a very, very young great granny”.

Amongst her other commitments. Jean is also chair of Oldham Credit Union, serves on the governing bodies of Oasis Academy Oldham and Limehurst primary and has been on the Contour Estate Board since 2003. She is also a keen supporter of Oldham Foodbank.

Accepting the nominations, Jean Stretton praised the work of Jim McMahon’s administration and pledged that Oldham Council’s improvement journey would continue under her leadership – delivering a firm message that “the work goes on”.

She highlighted the regeneration projects underway – like the transformation of the Old Town Hall into a cinema and family entertainment venue – as symbolising “so much about how we are moving and getting our priorities right”.

Cllr Stretton also talked about the need to focus more on “social regeneration”,pledging to do whatever is needed to implement the recommendations of the recent Oldham Education and Skills Commission report, saying that “better life prospects and fair and sustainable employment will be key to our prospects and wellbeing”.

She added that being Oldham Council’s first female leader would not define her leadership and she would represent every district and deserving cause in the borough.

“I am an Oldhamer born and bred. I want what’s best for this town, for its people and for our young people growing up,” she said.

“I am not afraid of hard work and I’m not afraid of a challenge.

“I will represent every Oldhamer – regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, race, creed, class or background. And I will do it because we all share the same aspirations. From Chadderton to Royton, and Failsworth to Saddleworth, we all want this place to succeed.

“No problem is insurmountable. With courage, determination and teamwork – with all of us doing our bit – Oldham can overcome anything that is thrown at us.”

Cllr Stretton will start a Leader’s Blog online next week which will be updated every Wednesday and can be found via the Oldham Council website at

Councillor Abdul Jabbar’s appointment as Oldham Council’s new Deputy Leader was also confirmed tonight.

A Labour ward councillor who has represented Coldhurst for 21 years, he retains his portfolio as Cabinet Member for Finance and HR.

Under his stewardship, the local authority has established itself as a leader in public sector finance and became the quickest local government body to publish its accounts in half a century in 2015.

Cllr Jabbar has also led on the low carbon and energy saving agenda with invest-to-save schemes designed to reduce emissions and create savings for the local authority and communities through strong partnerships.

Cllr Jabbar said: “I am honoured that colleagues have put their trust in me to serve as Deputy Leader and am looking forward to getting started.”

“These are crucial times for the borough and I will be working very closely with Jean Stretton to continue the great work that began under Jim McMahon.”

Former leader Jim McMahon OBE retains his Oldham Council seat as one of three ward members for Failsworth East.

Sporting champions open Oldham’s new £15million leisure centre

World champion boxing hero Anthony Crolla, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes and former Leeds Rhinos and GB rugby star Barrie McDermott all received a rapturous reception at today’s (Saturday, January 23) celebration event – along with England handball and netball stars who carried out demonstrations with Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) members in the centre’s eight-court sports hall.

Newly-elected Oldham West and Royton MP, Jim McMahon, unveiled a plaque, officially opening the flagship centre – funded by Oldham Council and managed by OCL.

He was joined by council staff, local councillors, sporting governing bodies, OCL and construction industry representatives.

Funding boost helps elderly residents become computer savvy

Research shows more than one million people living in the UK feel lonely, out of touch and cut off from society.

In an attempt to get more older people engaged in new technology and prevent digital exclusion, Chadderton District Executive has provided funding to Age UK Oldham to carry out computer classes in the area.

For further information, please follow this link:

Special meeting to select new Oldham Council Leader

Oldham Council is to hold a special meeting of Full Council to consider the appointment of the next Council Leader.

Jim McMahon officially stepped down from the post on January 15 , having held it since May 2011.

The Labour Group has since selected Councillor Jean Stretton, as their new leader.

An ‘extraordinary’ meeting of Full Council will then take place on Wednesday, January 27 at 6.30pm asking members to consider nominations for Council Leader. The Leader can then appoint a Deputy Leader.

As this is a special meeting there will be no ‘Open Council’ session enabling residents to submit questions on this occasion.

Members of the public can attend to observe proceedings in the Council Chamber and there is no need to book or signal your intention to attend beforehand.

The meeting will also be streamed live on our website at