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Several Black Lives Matter protests are happening around Greater Manchester tonight

Protestors will be taking the knee tonight.

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Anti-racism protesters are planning to gather across Greater Manchester in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement tonight.

The Manchester campaigners are planning on taking the knee tonight (June 10th) at 6pm. 

The protests will take place in areas where social distancing can be practised such as parks and outdoor spaces. 

Those who cannot attend the protests are encouraged by organisers to take the knee on their own doorstep in solidarity.

Jake Hardy

Some people have raised concerns regarding the defiance of the social distancing rules within the demonstrations.

However, this has been widely critiqued, including this response: “People have been flouting the rules for weeks and weeks, and it’s now suddenly a problem when there are #BlackLivesMatter protests?”

Demonstrators are urged to practise social distancing and wear masks.

The locations the demonstrations are taking place are:

  • Buile Hill Park in Salford
  • Car park behind the Longfield Centre in Prestwich
  • St John’s Community Centre in Old Trafford
  • Greenbank Park in Levenshulme
  • Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield (in front of the stone plinth of Abraham Lincoln)
  • Hulme Park in Hulme
  • Outside the University of Manchester on Oxford Road
  • Old Moat Park in Withington
  • Chorlton Park in Chorlton
  • Uppermill Methodist Church in Oldham

You can learn more about the resources and suggestions available to UK residents to help take action on Instagram here and here.

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Stevenson Square set to be fully pedestrianised and turned into a proper public square under new plans

Local residents have been encouraged to come forward and contribute towards the planning of the new space

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@williamkan__ & @barneyibbotson / Instagram

Plans to permanently pedestrianise the Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square have been released to the public.

A large proportion of the popular square has been closed off from traffic since last summer, when the council closed several roads to encourage pedestrians back into the city centre. 

It was also hoped that the closure of roads would help bars, restaurants and cafes to expand out into the streets to enable social distancing throughout the pandemic

Yet while some city centre road closures were reversed in October when the emergency Covid legislation came to an end, many roads remained closed around the Northern Quarter after the council were put under pressure deliver improved walking and cycling routes.

@adventurepostcards / Instagram

And Stevenson Square was one of them, with new plans for the area released detailing proposals for at least twenty new trees, seating, bike racks, a ‘rain garden’ and sustainable draining systems.

Further trees could potentially be planted subject to future surveys to find optimum space, and make allowances for underground utilities.

Traffic will still be able to pass through Lever Street but, where it would usually meet the square, the road will instead become a raised carriageway with a controlled pedestrian crossing.

Jon-Connor Lyons, Labour councillor for the Piccadilly ward, said on the plans: “We really welcome this final consultation on the proposals to permanently pedestrianise Stevenson Square.

“The Northern Quarter is a tightly-packed neighbourhood with buildings of various heights, history and architectural merits, though it is lacking public space for people to relax.

“What I’d like to see is more non-commercial seating in the square that is also age-friendly, as well as a friendly environment for artists and creatives to help further the space. I encourage residents to come forward and contribute towards the planning of this space.”

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, added: “I’m incredibly pleased that we’re able to take the next step towards creating a more accessible and thriving Northern Quarter.

“Making more space available for people to walk and cycle as well as introducing more green space were just two of the many priorities highlighted to us by residents and businesses throughout the consultations we’ve run.”

For more information and to have your say on the pedestrianisation, visit the Manchester City Council website here.

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Yellow weather warning for heavy snow and wind issued in Greater Manchester

As the country continues to recover from Storm Arwen, another spate of bad weather is on its way…

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@navsie30 & @jonbits / Instagram

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning in various areas across Greater Manchester ahead of the arrival of Storm Barra.

The second named storm of the season is expected to hit tomorrow (Tuesday December 7th) with forecasters saying plummeting temperatures and heavy snow are to be expected across a vast proportion of Northern England and Scotland, including parts of Oldham and Tameside in our region. 

The warning is in place from 11am tomorrow until midnight.

@manc_wanderer / Instagram

Another yellow weather warning for wind has also been issued for most of the UK, which is in place from 9am tomorrow until midnight.

Forecasters say travel disruption is ‘likely’, especially over higher routes, as is delays to rail and air travel. There is also the ‘slight chance some rural communities may become cut off’. 

The Met Office said: “A deep area of low pressure moving in across the UK from the Atlantic is likely to bring high winds to many parts of the UK.

“Strong winds arriving into the west through the morning, spreading inland and reaching eastern areas through the afternoon and early evening. Gusts of 45-50 mph are expected widely, with 60-70 mph in exposed coastal locations.

@adventurecat__ / Instagram

“Strongest winds will ease across inland areas into the overnight period.”

This comes as many parts of the country continue to recover from the effects of Storm Arwen, which has left thousands of people in the North without power heating and hot water. 

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) said, as per The Independent, that 3,190 homes were still waiting to be reconnected as of 2pm on Sunday. This was down from 4,025 homes on Sunday morning.

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At least 33 people living homeless died last year in Greater Manchester

The figures are up 65% from 2013

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Greater Manchester Mayor's Charity

Startling new figures have shown that dozens of people across Greater Manchester died while living on the streets last year.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show that at least thirty-three homeless people died across the region in 2020. 

While the numbers mainly include those who were homeless at or around the time of death, they also include those using emergency accommodation such as homeless shelters and direct access hostels. 

This statistic is down from the fifty-one recorded deaths in 2019, but is still 65% higher than the twenty homeless deaths estimated in 2013, when the figures were first collected.

Manchester has the highest rate of death amongst homeless people in the whole of Greater Manchester, with an estimated 123 deaths between 2013 and 2020.

Across England and Wales, it was estimated that 688 homeless people died during 2020, which is 43% higher than the number when the figures began in 2013.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, one the UK’s leading homelessness charities, said: “To think at least 688 people’s final days were spent homeless in the pandemic is a sobering thought. If it wasn’t for the government’s Covid response to help people off the streets even more lives would have been lost.

“As we head into another hard winter with the virus still circulating, we cannot leave anyone out in the cold. Our services are already being approached by people in need of emergency accommodation, who are being turned away by councils and often told they have no rights.

“The government must step in again to keep people safe from Covid and the ravages of homelessness this winter. Councils need clear guidance to ensure everyone at risk of sleeping rough is offered emergency accommodation, and the funding to provide it.”

This comes just one week on from the launch of The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity’s A Bed Every Night appeal, which implores the public for £30,000 in donations to help provide 1,000 beds to those who need them the most.

Andy Burnham said: “Here in Greater Manchester our ground-breaking approach to rough sleeping and homelessness is working, and making a real difference.

“The number of people sleeping on our streets is at its lowest since 2013. But we will not rest until we have eradicated the need for rough sleeping from our city-region. Please donate what you can to A Bed Every Night and help us raise £30,000 to provide 1,000 places of safety this Christmas.”

For more information and to donate, head over to the 1000 Beds JustGiving page. You can also find more information over at the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity website.

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