As we look towards the New Year, it is important to reflect on the year that has just gone. 2018 has been a bitterly divisive year. For the first time in my life, our country feels fractured and disunited. The challenges posed by austerity and post-Brexit uncertainty are huge and getting bigger. Overcoming these will not be easy, but I know we will rise to the challenge.Read more
The Bishop of Leeds recently spoke about the importance of place, and how – despite the growth in social media and virtual friendship networks – we remained rooted and shaped by the physical communities and environments in which we live.
I agree, and I have always thought that the idea of place and community is at its strongest at Christmas. It is a time of year when all roads lead to home and we look forward to enjoying the company of those closest to us. At Christmas, everything takes on a special significance, whether that’s putting up the decorations, shopping for food, or watching films together as a family. There is no other occasion like it.
Christmas offers us a time to relax and recharge. To reflect on the year that’s passed and prepare ourselves for the year to come. It’s not just about the tinsel, the mistletoe and the laughter. It’s a chance to take breather from hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on what matters. And this Christmas break will be an especially well earned one for us all.Read more
We are living through a period of profound change. The challenges posed by austerity and post-Brexit uncertainty are huge. Overcoming them will require all of the innate resilience, talent and generosity for which the people of Yorkshire are known. If we are to tackle them, and make the most of any opportunities that arise, we must do so as a community, centred on the place we live – Barnsley.Read more
Today I am hosting a summit on homelessness. The event will bring together the region’s local authorities, MPs, leading organisations – such as South Yorkshire Housing Association and Crisis – and people who have first-hand experience of homelessness as we seek to eradicate homelessness in South Yorkshire.
We have seen a rapid increase in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets in recent years. You only have to walk along Cheapside, or through the underpass between the Alhambra and Sheffield Road, to see that the numbers of rough sleepers in Barnsley have risen in recent years.Read more
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Those words, spoken at every Remembrance Service since 1918, have never been more poignant than in this centenary year of the end of the First World War.
In 2018, we all come together to mark 100 years since Armistice Day – 11 November 1918 – which brought the Great War to its conclusion. The First World War was a conflict that claimed over 750,000 British lives, and saw around half a million young men wounded.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more