Tour de Yorkshire encourages all of us to be more active

I was delighted to hear that Barnsley will host one of the stages of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire for the second year running.

Last year’s Tour de Yorkshire put our town on the cycling map and showed Barnsley at its best. The town centre was buzzing on the day, with the bunting and street stalls creating a fantastic atmosphere.

It was really exciting to watch world-class cyclists setting out on the Second Stage of this internationally acclaimed cycling event – part of the legacy of the 2014 Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire.

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How we can help young people achieve their full potential

Earlier this month I was proud to join academics, early years professionals, teachers and the people responsible for helping schools improve performance, to celebrate the success of South Yorkshire Futures, who are doing great work here in Barnsley and across the region.

South Yorkshire Futures is a social mobility scheme run by Sheffield Hallam University. It aims to tackle the issue that too many of our young people aren’t as healthy, independent, emotionally secure and socially competent as they could be. This is an important mission and one that I am fully behind.

If we don’t come together to tackle some of the issues facing our children and young people we’re harming their chances to thrive. We need to work together to help lift their ambitions and show children and young people, that with the right help and support, they can be whatever they want to be.  

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Barnsley FC: Success on and off the pitch

I was concerned to hear that Stephen Croft – a popular member of staff at Barnsley FC – suffered a cardiac arrest just before the start of Saturday’s match against Burton.

Stephen is still recovering in hospital, and my thoughts are with him and his family. I wish him a speedy recovery, and would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work of the club’s medical staff and the air ambulance service in responding to the incident.

Although fans will have been no doubt disappointed that Saturday’s match had to be postponed – the club made absolutely the right decision. The calm behaviour of both sets of fans is a credit to both Barnsley and Burton.

Although Saturday was a difficult day for the club, the 2018/19 season has seen a positive start for the Reds.

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'Working Win' and Mental Health

As Mayor of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) I recently launched ‘Working Win’ – a new health-led employment trial that aims to break down barriers that stop people from getting or keeping jobs.

‘Working Win’ is being run by the SCR and involves a number of different organisations – such as the Department of Work and Pensions, the South Yorkshire Housing Association and our local NHS trusts – working together to help local people get and stay in work. It is not right that people with physical and mental health issues often face barriers to realising their full potential.

If you are unable to work through no fault of your own then it is right that the Government steps in to support you. That was the intention of the post-war Labour Government that built our NHS and Welfare State – a safety net when times are hard.

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A-Level and GCSE Results 2018

On the 16 and 23 August, Barnsley pupils received their A-Level and GCSE results.

Results days are always times of great anticipation and, for most, anxiety about what the envelope contains!

Whatever the results, those who have tried their hardest deserve our recognition and congratulations.

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Things to do in Barnsley this summer

This week, schools across Barnsley will close for the summer. And what a summer we’ve had so far!

Whether it is the glorious sunshine we have been enjoying, or the fact that England had their best performance at a World Cup in 28 years by reaching the semi-finals, there’s been lots to celebrate.

Although England were unable to bring ‘football home’, the team’s excellent performances were due in no small part to the talent, resilience and true Yorkshire grit of the likes of our own John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and others. In fact you could say it was Yorkshire who almost brought football home!

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My first 100 days as Mayor

Next week, 16 August, will mark 100 days since I was elected by the people of South Yorkshire to serve as their Mayor.

In my first hundred days I have started building the co-operative community that I promised in my mayoral manifesto.

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Update on tackling anti-social behaviour

Tackling anti-social behaviour in Barnsley remains a priority for me. The unpleasant and sometimes frightening experiences that local residents have shared with me, plus the scenes I have witnessed for myself, are simply unacceptable.

Recently, a significant number of constituents have been in touch and shared disturbing images of individuals in an unconscious or semi-conscious state in and around Peel Square in particular.

I have again raised my concerns with both South Yorkshire Police and Barnsley Council. Both have provided me with a comprehensive update on the work they are doing to target the influx of Spice onto our streets. They have advised that there is evidence of an organised crime group targeting vulnerable users with a particularly potent variety of Spice. A number of arrests have already been made and the police and the council will continue to work together to shut down the supply of 'Spice' into Barnsley as soon as possible.

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Northern Rail - why Barnsley deserves better

Like many people in Barnsley, I rely on public transport to get to and from work each day.

And, also like many people in Barnsley, I have been increasingly concerned and frustrated in recent weeks by the mounting chaos that is our rail service.

Our communities want better, deserve better, and need better. The situation we see at railway platforms across our region and the wider North every day is simply not good enough.

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Anyone for tennis?

As a keen runner, occasional mountaineer and committed Barnsley Football Club fan, I’ve always been passionate about sport and the important role it plays in our community.

Again and again I have seen sport be such a positive force for good in people’s lives, particularly for young people.

As a parent, I’ve seen the benefits of sport with my own children, through the sense of enjoyment and achievement they get from taking part in the Barnsley Park Run in Locke Park on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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