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The Leader's blog - October 2013

Hello and welcome to my October blog post.

It is finally here – the Rugby League World Cup 2013 will come to Warrington this month. On the 15 October the Samoan International Team will arrive in the town ahead of their group match against New Zealand on Sunday 27. It’s a wonderful occasion to host the Samoans and they will bring vibrancy and colour to the town. They will be getting involved in schools events and festivals whilst here so keep an eye out for them.

As well as the Samoans being in town, a delegation from New Zealand will also be here for a very special ceremony. Warrington Museum currently has in its collection an important artefact from New Zealand : a preserved tattooed head, or Toi moko, brought to Warrington in 1843 and said to be “the head of a South Sea island chief”. The council has decided to repatriate the artefact, which is of major cultural and religious significance to Maori people.

On the 24 and 25 October a delegation from Te Papa Tongarewa, one of the national museums of New Zealand , will come to the Town Hall to take possession of the artefact as the first step on its long journey home. The formal handover ceremony will involve a Pütatara – the playing of a counch trumpet – and a Kararanga – a call of welcome from a female elder, and may also involve the performance of a Haka.

I am delighted to be presenting a Warrington Inspiration Award at a ceremony on 3 October. The event is part of the Warrington Guardian’s 160th anniversary celebrations and council is sponsoring the ‘contribution to the community’ award. I’m honoured to be part of this event which recognises the valuable achievements of our residents.

“PLAN, save and borrow for a better tomorrow” is the message of Warrington ’s first MoneyBox shop which will be opening in Warrington Market on Friday 4 October. The shop will provide ethical and affordable financial services, through Warrington Credit Unions, to bring real quantifiable benefits to all people who live, work or study in Warrington so make sure you check it out if you are in need of some advice. 

The Warrington Wolves have made it through to the grand final of the Super League and will take on the Wigan Warriors at the weekend. I know the whole town will be crossing their fingers and wishing the team the very best of luck! If the Wolves win we will be holding a celebratory homecoming parade on Sunday 6 October at the Halliwell Jones Stadium so keep an eye on the council’s website for details.

You will know how committed I am about increasing the numbers of people taking up apprenticeships, and I’m happy to say that there’s lots going on at the moment. The council has just recruited 16 new apprentices into a range of job roles, including environmental, catering, accounting, ICT and administration. I’m grateful to our managers for creating these opportunities, and I really look forward to meeting the new starters in their workplace.

The council is also joining up with Golden Gates Housing Trust to offer incentives to small businesses and voluntary sector employers to take on local unemployed people into jobs. I am delighted that we have been able to follow our Coalfields Apprenticeship Programme and continue to offer a wide range of opportunities whilst supporting local employers at the same time.

I was pleased to be invited to celebrate the achievement of Sellafield Ltd’s 2009 intake of apprentices. These youngsters have successfully completed an intensive four year programme and now have a really interesting and rewarding career ahead of them. Sellafield Ltd recruit a new intake of apprentices every year and it’s really beneficial to have a major employer in the town leading by example.

The annual Regimental Sunday will also take place in Warrington on Sunday 6 October, on the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the 1914-18 war memorial of the South Lancashire ’s Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Volunteers). There will be a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving at St Elphin’s Parish Church at 11am and the parade will include a march past along Church Street at about 12.15pm.

On another note the budget process will be starting soon and with a target saving of £40m over the next three years, with £17m of that this year, there are undoubtedly some difficult decisions ahead.

It is an extremely busy month ahead and I hope you will enjoy it with us.

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