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Greater Manchester town named fifth best place for families to live in England

It might come as surprise…

Jamie Roberts



Pimlico Badger / Flickr

The top 25 family-friendly places to live in the UK have been ranked, and a Greater Manchester town managed to bag the fifth spot.

Online retailer Play Like Mum ranked the entries using eight categories, including median full-time salary, things to do, quality of schools, crime per person, average house price, and monthly private childcare costs.

Other factors taken into account include the percentage of schools given an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report, the percentage of households with kids, and the number of child-friendly attractions and restaurants.

Liz Dawson / Geograph

And the winner in our region is Bolton, who secured a very respectable fifth place on the list, behind Bournemouth, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Plymouth.

Liverpool managed to take the top spot, both overall and for the percentage of schools with ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted reports – in Bolton, over a fifth of schools managed top Ofsted ratings, which is only 1.5% short of Liverpool’s score, the Bolton News reports.

When it comes to finances, in Bolton the average full time worker earns just under £25,000, while private childcare will only cost you £725 a month – the average house goes for around £160,000.

There are seven attractions and a whopping 79 child-friendly restaurants in the area, per 100,000 people.

Philip Platt / Geograph

On top of that, crime rates are apparently low in Bolton, with just 0.18 crimes recorded per person – nationally, London had the highest (0.54 per person) and Reading the lowest (0.07 per person).

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, told Bolton News: “It is no surprise that Bolton has ranked so highly as a wonderful place for families. From outstanding schools and easy access to beautiful countryside to our friendly community and family events such the Food and Drink Festival, there is certainly plenty to be proud of.

“We are lucky to have so many voluntary sector groups within our communities that bring families together and create a real sense of pride in the borough. As we work to improve our town centre and continue to attract employers to the borough, I’m sure more people will realise that Bolton is an ideal place for all ages.”


Pubs and restaurants could reopen in June, Boris Johnson says

Just in…

Alex Watson



As part of the newest updates on easing lockdown, in regards to the hospitality industry Boris Johnson has suggested ‘we may be able to do things faster than I thought’.

Potential plans to bring in a reduction in the existing two-metre social distancing rule to one metre mean pubs and restaurants could reopen as early as June. Mr Johnson has asked scientists to review the two metre rule in the ‘hope’ it can be reduced.

Previously, plans to reopen the hospitality sector were expected to take place at the beginning of July at the earliest, as part of phase three.

However, in a Zoom video link to the Commons liaison committee yesterday, the Prime Minister explained that hotels, restaurants and pubs may all open as soon as next month.

Credit: / Unsplash

He said: “It is really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing.

“But I am much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I previously thought.”

Boris Johnson is expected to announce new rules allowing two households to meet for barbecues later today, during the three week review of the coronavirus lockdown. 

In the roadmap, step two of the relaxing of the lockdown would not include the hospitality sector and personal care. Originally they came under step three which would start at the earliest on July 4th.

However, yesterday’s statements suggest that this could be moved forward. 

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From today you might get a call from the NHS telling you to isolate for 14 days

Track and trace starts today.

Proper Manchester



Richard Townshend / Wikimedia

From today, Thursday May 28th, you could get a call from the NHS telling you to self-isolate for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms.

This is because the government’s new track and trace rules are now in effect, in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said self isolation was our ‘civic duty’ at yesterday’s briefing, adding that it could be made mandatory if people don’t obey it, the Liverpool Echo reports. 

Mr Hancock said: “If you are contacted by NHS track and trace instructing you to isolate you must it is your civic duty so you avoid unknowingly spreading the virus and you break the chain of transmission.

“This is voluntary at first because we trust people to do the right thing but we can make it mandatory if necessary.”

He continued: “From 9am tomorrow in addition if you are contacted by an NHS track and trace adviser advising you you must isolate you must do that if you have symptoms or not.”

If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate then ask for a Covid-19 test, before working with a track and trace adviser to list the people you’ve been in contact with recently, who will then get a phone call and be asked to isolate regardless of symptoms.

According to Baroness Harding, who led the track and trace project, people must isolate themselves for 14 days, although members of their family won’t have to if no one has symptoms. 

Mr Hancock added: “If you have symptoms you must isolate immediately and get yourself a test. Yesterday 2,013 people tested positive and the next step is through contact tracing, like detectives, the NHS clinician and the person who tested positive work together to trace the possible movements of the virus.”

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Full list of all the shops open in the Trafford Centre and Arndale

Non-essential shops will be reopening again soon…

Alex Watson



Following the latest updates from the Government, non-essential shops such as clothes and shoe shops are set to open in the next few weeks. 

Almost all non-essential shops have remained closed since the lockdown was introduced in March. This has left the Arndale and Trafford Centre quieter than anyone has ever seen them before.

Over the past few months, a limited number of essential stores have been open providing residents of the surrounding areas with accesses to essentials like food, medicine and cleaning supplies.

Most recent openings include food retailers such as Archie’s and Five Guys offering takeaway services. 

We’ve listed below the shops that are currently open within Arndale and Trafford Centre shopping centres and will continue to update the lists as stores begin to reopen their doors as part of the lockdown easing.

Credit: Seth Whales

The shops open in the Arndale:

  • Aldi
  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Holland & Barrett
  • Wilko
  • Specsavers
  • Natwest
  • TSB
  • Metrobank
  • Archie’s (takeaway and collection only)

The shops open in Trafford Centre:

  • Five Guys (click & collect and Deliveroo only)
  • M&S Foodhall
  • Holland & Barrett
  • Vision Express 

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