Santa’s not the only one working this Christmas

It’s not just Santa who will be working on Christmas Eve. Whilst many of us will be making

last minute plans, wrapping presents and putting excited children to bed, National Grid will be working around the clock to keep the gas flowing to ensure gas supplies are safe over the festive period.

National Grid is urging people to be extra alert to potential gas escapes over the holidays. It’s estimated that
more than 150,000 people will call the National Gas Emergency Service number during the Christmas break due to a gas problem at home.

So you might be reassured to know that National Grid call centre staff will still be manning the phones 24 hours a day and
engineers will be ready to deal with any gas emergency over the
Christmas and New Year period.

National Grid would like all gas users to enjoy Christmas and stay safe so here is a summary of what to do if you smell gas:


  • Call the National Gas Emergency 24-hour
    free phone 0800 111 999
  • Don’t smoke or light matches
  • Don’t turn electrical switches on or
  • Open doors and windows
  • Turn off the meter at the control valve
    unless the meter is in the cellar.



What are the Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2011?

At this special time of year, children across the world will be asking Santa for their
favourite toy, but picking the right one can be a real struggle for parents.
Last year the UK toy market was worth about £2.7 billion a year, with almost two thirds of sales occurring over Christmas, yet each year nearly 20% of parents end up taking back 1-3 unwanted presents after Christmas. So if you’re joining the millions
of Brits shopping for toys this Christmas, how do you decide how to pick the
best toy?

Watch this short video for advice on how to choose toys for children and to find out the Top 10 Toys this Christmas as picked by the real experts – children!



Christmas is an expensive time of year and no one wants to be left out of the fun so some people end up taking    out loans to fund their festivities – loans which some people can’t afford to pay back, according debt advice  service, Money Mentors.


Julie Blairs, financial inclusion team leader for the  Manchester City Council-funded service, advises caution about taking out short-term loans at high interest rates with recognised lenders.


And she has warned local people to steer clear completely of dealing with so-called  ‘loan sharks’ – that is unauthorised and unregulated lenders who have a reputation for turning nasty if repayments are missed.  Manchester is one of Britain’s biggest hotspots for loan shark activity, according to Julie Blairs.


If you have a problem with debt, want advice about how to borrow safely, or any other money-related advice, you can go along, without an appointment, to speak to a member of the Money Mentors team at Benchill Community Centre between 1pm and 4pm every Tuesday.


You can phone Money Mentors on 0161 223 1155 or email them at


To report ‘loan shark’ activity in confidence and anonymously, if you wish, you can phone the illegal money lending team on 0300 555 2222






Local people are being urged to use a new police phone number for non-emergency calls – 101.

101 is the number for people to phone for any concern where they don’t need a police vehicle to race their           house in the next five minutes, according to Diane Grandidge, who manages the call takers for Greater                  Manchester Police. The new number, launched in Manchester on

23 November, is set to be rolled out across the country in January 2012.

Now GMP has launched the easy-to-remember 101 number, which will be routed to an operator based in Manchester, it’s urging people to think before they dial, to use the emergency number for emergencies only, and to dial 101 for everything else


What you can report using 101

Call 101 to contact the police to report less urgent crime and disorder or to speak to your local officers.
For example, call 101:
  • if your car has been stolen
  • if your property has been damaged
  • if you suspect drug use or dealing in your local area
  • to report a minor traffic accident
  • to give the police information about crime in your area
  • to speak to the police about a general enquiry
  • vandalism and graffiti
  • noise nuisance
  • abandoned vehicles
  • dumping and fly tipping
  • broken street lighting



Local children are voting to choose a name for a landmark attraction which has been dubbed Northenden’s Angel of the North.


Ballot papers have been sent to Northenden schools so youngsters can be involved in choosing a name for the popular heron sculpture which stands  alongside the children’s playground by the River Mersey in Mill Lane.


Gwyneth Lloyd, chairman of the Friends of Northenden Riverside Park believes everyone should come to see this local treasure for themselves.


She told WFM: ‘This is a beautiful sculpture of recycled metal of a beautiful heron and we were very sad that it didn’t have a name so we’ve asked the local children to fill in the forms and to give it a name and to state the reason why.


‘It’s our angel of the north. It’s visible from the motorway and from Palatine Road. It is made out of recycled metal on a very high plinth which was a tree that came down in one of the storms and its feet are pick axe handles.

Its legs, you will see, are from hoses, from showers, but its eye is a shopping trolley wheel; it’s got its eye on you and its very lovely. The rest is all reclaimed metal and its an absolutely stunning thing. Everybody should come and have a look at it.’








It’s been difficult to spend a penny in Northenden of late – following the closure of public toilets in Mill Lane. A wave of Manchester City Council cuts this year has

also seen public toilets closed at Wythenshawe Civic Centre and Hollyhedge Road shops.

But now Northenden residents are looking forward to the prospect of opening up and running their toilets themselves after the Friends of Northenden Riverside Park group was given £7,912.


The cash was awarded by public vote at a U Decide meeting where residents themselves were able to allocate a pot of nearly £40,000 of funding to different community groups after hearing presentations from them.

The Friends of Northenden Riverside Park will now submit a business plan for approval before taking over the running of the toilet.





A multi-coloured tree has been amazing passersby in Crossacres for the last few weeks.


It’s all the work of an army of dedicated knitting and crochet fans who’ve joined an international craze called yarn bombing by decorating a tree from top to toe outside Crosscacres Resource Centre.


Kay Bamford, Age Concern Ageing Well Development Worker at the Centre, recently spoke to WFM about how the tree was decorated and extended an invitation to local people to join their thriving and friendly arts and crafts groups.



The knitting and crochet group meets at Crossacres Resource Centre, at the junction of Peel Hall Road and Crossacres Road, from 1pm – 3pm, every Monday, while a general craft group meets each Friday from 1pm -3pm, offering the over-50s the chance to socialise, make new friends and enjoy knitting, sewing, card-making, painting and drawing.


If anyone wants to donate sewing or knitting machines, wool, or any craft materials to Crossacres Resource Centre please phone 0161 437 0717.



A charity single in aid of military charities has been released on 27th November 2011 – a cover of Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends – produced and performed by over 1000 residents of Royal Wootton Bassett in honour of fallen heroes and in aid of military charities: The Royal British Legion; Combat Stress; The Undentable Trust and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA).

Timed to follow Wootton Bassett receiving its Royal status, the project is the brainchild of Wiltshire mum of two, Tracey Rogers, whose brother, Captain Mark Hale, was repatriated after being killed by an IED whilst evacuating an injured soldier in Afghanistan in 2009.

Having now completed the single and accompanying video, Tracey explains:

“I first had the idea for a charity single in June this year. I wanted to do something meaningful that involved as many people as possible from this wonderful community to remember my brother and other fallen heroes, to mark the end of an era of repatriations through Royal Wootton Bassett and also to raise much needed funds for military charities that focus on supporting bereaved families and also help and support wounded servicemen and women”. Although repatriations no longer pass through the town, the community of

Royal Wootton Bassett are continuing to support families and soldiers by raising funds through sales of the single and video and will continue to remain in close association with military families.

The single and video can be downloaded from 27th November 2011 from iTunes and other leading online retailers. Charitable donations can be made by the general public via SMS texting RWBR11 and the donation amount to 70070.