Politically Correct by Brian Coope

Chairman of Clean Up Blackpool and community activist
Chairman of Clean Up Blackpool and community activist
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Tapping into goodwill makes our town better

People often complain about the lack of community spirit in Blackpool, that no-one ever offers anything back to society and that there is only pride in the negative.

Well that’s rubbish as far as I’m concerned, and I can tell you why.

Blackpool has a hidden depth of goodwill that just needs tapping.

We may be on the wrong end of some league tables, but if there was a measure of civic pride, then I am sure we would be climbing to the top of that table.

I’m not saying Blackpool isn’t without its issues, and it will take a long time to fully address many of them, but the old adage, “how do you eat an elephant?” springs to mind, the answer is “one bite at a time”.

About three years ago I got together with a couple of contacts to form an organisation called Clean Up Blackpool, or CLUB for short.

Our aim was to put something back in to the community we live in.

Initially, our goals were small, to tidy up a back alley here or a walkway there, and as word spread of what we were doing more people came forward and the group has snowballed.

I’ve been particularly pleased with some of the support we have received from people in the area, like our MP Paul Maynard, and new councillors Danny Scott and Colin Maycock.

They’ve rolled their sleeves up and have got stuck in when and where needed.

Looking to the future, we have plans to plant up back alleys in Layton to create a ‘garden space’ for local residents, we still go ( anyone is welcome) and in March we are taking on the challenge of ‘Clean for the Queen’, to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.

So, like the elephant, how do you clean up Blackpool? My answer is one street at a time, one back alley at a time and recruiting one volunteer at time.

If, after reading this, you would feel inspired yourself to volunteer, then please email me on cleanupblackpool@gmail.com

Sadness at unit’s closure

I nearly choked on my corn flakes the other day when I read in The Gazette that Blackpool Victoria Hospital was cancelling the contract for Spiral Health Care in Bispham.

I’ve only ever heard great things about the quality of care offered, and the experience patients leave with is second to none, in my understanding. I thought this was a crazy decision.

If you don’t know about Spiral Health Care, it is a nurse-led intermediate care provider.

Some people, usually elderly, who are nearing the end of their stay in hospital will be transferred to Spiral for therapy, and to prepare them again for independent living at home. The cost of this care is much less than staying in hospital, and re-admission rates are far lower than other models.

I was sceptical at first that a community interest company could run an NHS service, but I was proved wrong, and I have been really surprised by the results.

So, despite being nationally recognised and being runner-up for a Social Enterprise of the Year award, despite its glowing reports from patients, and its cost effectiveness, the contract for intermediate care is being sent elsewhere.

Dedicated staff are having their jobs put at risk, the wider NHS will pay more for less care, and, most importantly, patients will get a rougher deal.

I just hope this decision isn’t based on ideology, as what is important to my mind is the patient care and not the model of delivery.

Therefore, I hope Spiral can continue to play a role in care on the Fylde coast.

Questions over fluoride milk

Talking about corn flakes takes me on to my next subject, the fluoridation of milk for our schoolchildren.

I read this news with concern, as I am aware there is a wide debate across the country and for many years about the addition of fluoride in water and milk. So people think it will lead to healthier teeth while others believe fluoride can cause health problems.

I am cautious over this scheme. I do understand in Blackpool some of our young people have very poor dental hygiene, and that bad teeth can have a negative effect throughout life, however is over fluoridation the answer?

I would like to know what work educationalists have done on encouraging and providing facilities for children to clean their teeth at school.

I am also concerned about all those children who have parents who do care, of which there any many tens of thousands in this town, who do ensure good oral practices at home.