Hunt for handyman hinges on funding

MOSSLEY councillors have given their backing to a proposal to employ a part-time handyman to keep the town tidy.

Whether it becomes a reality is down to finding £8,000 to fund the post for 12 months. The money would come equally from Mossley Town Council and Tameside Council.

Paul Dowthwaite- Friends of Mossley Park

Mossley Town Team suggested the idea and its chairman Paul Dowthwaite explained the Town Council has agreed in principle and it now depends on whether Tameside Council will join in.

Mossley’s Cllr Stephen Homer said: “It is a superb idea from Paul Dowthwaite, one of our activists.

The Labour councillors are 100 per-cent behind it.

“As you know Tameside Council is strapped for cash and it is about whether we can find the finances, but hopefully we can do it.

“Tameside Council want to know more about the logistics and we are still in discussions with them.”

Cllr Homer added the post would provide employment for somebody semi-retired or self-employed while also helping to keep the town clean.

The proposal is that Mossley Town Council and Tameside Council jointly fund a handyman to primarily look after the town centres of Top and Bottom Mossley.

The person could also to deal with issues in other areas of the town, particularly litter problems and overhanging branches.

Mr Dowthwaite explained reductions in local government budgets for many years have had a notable impact on the street scene with organisations like the town team taking on more of the work previously undertaken by Tameside Council on a voluntary basis.

He pointed out they have recently taken over the garden near the market ground and land outside the George Lawton Hall.

Mr Dowthwaite, who is also secretary of Friends of Mossley Park, said: “We are increasingly taking over more and more work in the town.

“Every two days I was watering the tubs in Top Mossley as they would not have been otherwise done. It is something I cannot carry on doing at my age.

“We do maintenance work, but we then need continuity and a person to look after the areas and plug the gaps we are unable to do as we are only volunteers.

“There is a desperate need for regular maintenance once we have done our work.”

Volunteers from the town team work hard to make sure Mossley looks its best with flowers in planters and baskets with help from local organisations and businesses.

Each year the town team tries to do a little more to reclaim neglected land.

This year the triangle in the market place has been cultivated and planted with perennials sponsored by a local business. The gardens round the George Lawton Hall are being reclaimed.

The Friends of Mossley Park are maintaining an increasing area of flower beds as Tameside Council’s service “shrinks” according to Mr Dowthwaite.

He said: “Each of these one-off improvements brings with it a maintenance requirement to weed, water, litter pick etc.

“On top of this is the need to sweep and weed the streets on a regular basis.

“The town team and town council jointly funded a contractor to sweep the streets every four weeks in between the sweeping by Tameside Council. They have also jointly funded some weed spraying.

“These initiatives have been tasters or experiments and are not sustainable because the town team does not have a regular income.”

Mr Dowthwaite added volunteers are doing the best they can. Litterbugs clean up different areas every month. The town team and Friends of Mossley Park weed, water and litter pick.

As to employing a handyman, Mr Dowthwaite said: “This project would be a splendid co-operation between the town council and Tameside Council. It would be a symbol of new ways of working together.”

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