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Oldham residents urged to get involved in Local Democracy Week to interact with European representatives

By Lucy Kenderdine

Concerned Oldham residents are being urged by the council to get involved with Local Democracy Week and have more people interact with their European representatives.

Monday to Friday next week is part of an international festival which promotes local democracy and enables more people to engage with their elected representatives across Europe.

Oldham Council will be speaking to residents at a number of organised events around the borough and will encourage them to get involved in decision making.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Community Development, said: “The views of the Borough’s residents are very important.”

She added that it is a chance for everyone to discuss how the council runs its services and say whether they are in need of any major changes.

“Your opinions count and we want to hear it,” she said.

There are a range of events and activities taking place such as Community Link Day on October 18.

Various information and service providers will hold stands at Oldham Library and talk face to face with the public about important issues.

There will also be a talk on the theme of democracy and what it means to the public by Janet Mather, Principle Lecturer in Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University.

She said that democracy is a ‘tricky subject’ but hopes to encourage debate and discussion amongst the residents.

Dr Mather added: “Rather than giving a lecture, I am planning to toss out some ideas and get the students to respond by discussing different options for political community involvement.”

Students and young people will also be targeted in Youth Council Question Time on October 23 as they are given the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of Councillors and Oldham’s partners including GMP and NHS Oldham.

Councillor Bernard Judge said: “I believe that young people need to be aware of the importance of democracy and to understand how they can get involved in shaping our future.”

He will be taking part in youth events in his Royton, Shaw and Crompton District and will discuss some controversial issues such as the attack on democracy in this country.

Cllr Judge, a Youth Champion, added: “I intend to explore young people’s views and perceptions of local elected people before actually showing them what we and finding out if their views have been changed.”

Schools in the area have also been invited into the Civic Centre to take tours with the Mayor and previous mayors, highlighting the role that the Mayor plays in Oldham.

Oldham Council will be using the week as another opportunity to talk about this year’s budget setting process which has already received some criticism from Lib Dem opposition leader, Councillor Howard Sykes.

The council will hold a budget road show all week where residents will be able to drop-in and talk to staff about the financial issues the council has to deal with this year and how problems can be overcome.

For more information about Local Democracy Week and a full list of events that are taking place log onto www.oldham.gov.uk.

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