What's in a Name

Started off yesterday morning meeting the committee of Cheetham Hill Traders Association, a really good group of people intent on improving Cheetham Hill District Centre, the shopping centre located around the junction of Crescent Road, Cheetham Hill Road and Bury Old Road. The district centre lies partially in Crumpsall Ward, partially in Cheetham Ward, and partially in Salford. For a range of reasons the future is looking reasonably bright but there are still some challenging issues to address, including the marketing and promotion of the area.

In this context, it was really quite upsetting to get back to the Town Hall to find the Manchester Evening News and the BBC's website describing Cheetham Hill as the 'fakes' capital of the UK. Now you might think our local media would know something about the geography of the city but maybe not as the area they were ( wrongly ) labelling as Cheetham Hill was in fact Strangeways, the bit around Bury New Road, a good couple of miles away. Wouldn't it be nice if the media were to remedy their error by doing some positive coverage on the real Cheetham Hill which also happens to be my local shopping centre.

Full Council meeting today which included a fascinating and challenging presentation from the City Council's Director of Adult Services, the Booth Centre, Mustard Tree, and a former homeless person on the problems Manchester is facing with an increase in homelessness over the past year or so, including a significant increase in rough sleepers. The presentation and the Q&A session that followed can all be viewed online so I'm not going to go into detail here but it did contain a lot of factual information, a few myth busters, and some very positive signs of co-working between the voluntary sector and the Council and other public agencies to come up with solutions to the sometimes quite complex issues faced in this field. There was a very strong emphasis on listening to the voice of homeless people and also some strong criticism of much well-intentioned but counter-productive activity going on. Ultimately though it was a positive presentation on the basis that if the right people work together this is something we can do something about.

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