By the time you read this I’m sure some of you will already be struggling with your New Year’s resolutions. Making a commitment to lose weight, get fit or stop smoking is hard work, particularly during the long winter months ahead. But stick with it – and if you haven’t made a resolution yet, why not?
One resolution that we can all keep is to volunteer some of our time in 2014 to help others. There are countless volunteering opportunities in Rochdale and by giving a little of your time you can make a huge difference to the lives of others. Whether it be helping restore flower borders at Springfield Park, supporting animal welfare with the RSPCA or becoming a social host for Rochdale Circle to help older people get out and make new friends, we can all contribute to making our Borough a better place.
Going into the New Year I’m pleased to see Rochdale Football Club looking strong and pushing for promotion. I hope the whole town will get behind Keith Hill and his team and give them all the support they need over the coming months. This Saturday’s FA Cup match against Leeds will be a massive test and I wish them all the best.
It was great to see the Hornets finish so well last year, landing their first silverware in a long time, and I look forward to seeing our local sportsmen and women achieve more sporting success in 2014.
Last year I campaigned on a wide range of issues in parliament, locally and even internationally. Some of these campaigning issues included homelessness, access to justice for victims of abuse, the future of the high street, small business support, the bedroom tax, pubs and chief executive pay.
I was especially pleased to see two of my campaigns taken up by the Labour Party. Ed Miliband has committed to a business rates cut in 2015 for small businesses and a freeze in 2016, and, over the Christmas period, it was announced that they are committed to a new victim treatment review.
This will be led by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and focus on transforming the rights of rape victims in the justice system. I’ve met with Keir to talk about the Rochdale grooming case and he is clear that victims need more support.
There is much work to do in 2014 and my resolution is to keep speaking up for Rochdale and challenging those in power to do right by our town.