Live updates

Taxi boss will no longer offer white drivers on demand

The owner of a taxi firm in Rochdale has made a dramatic U-turn on his policy of offering customers a white driver if they requested it.

Stephen Campbell, boss of Car 2000 in Heywood, changed his mind after dozens of his Asian drivers staged a protest in the town centre calling the service ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’.

Mr Campbell employs 80 drivers at Car 2000, 55 of whom are Asian. All 55 were on strike today over the row.


Wigan woman gets top foster care award

Jeanette Fisher

Jeanette Fisher from Wigan has been named Foster Carer of Distinction in the FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards.

Ten awards to recognise the dedication of foster carers in the UK were handed out by Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, and TV chef Lorraine Pascale, at a special ceremony in London.

Hundreds of foster carers were nominated for the awards, established to mark the 10th anniversary of FosterTalk, a service set up to provide nationwide specialist independent support to foster carers in areas such as legal and financial advice and counselling.

(L to R): Lorraine Pascale, Jeannette Fisher, Edward Timpson MP, Melody Douglas (MD of FosterTalk)

Jeanette, a foster carer with Foster Care Associates, was nominated by her daughter Aimee Carr for her unwavering commitment to make a real difference to the children in her care and ensure they feel part of the family.

Aimee explains: “I nominated my mum for the love she puts into her work. Despite the heartbreak when children leave her care, she loves each and every child and will do anything to see them succeed in life.”

Jeanette said: “I am overwhelmed to receive this award. For me, it is a privilege to be able to care for the children as they bring so much fun and laughter into my life.”

Debbie Smith, Operations Manager of FCA in the North West, said: “Jeanette Fisher is a fantastic example of fostering at its finest and we are so proud to see her receive this prestigious award. She has been a foster carer alongside her husband Peter for five years and they have welcomed into their home and family a number of children and young people, including siblings and children with disabilities. “Children and young people deserve the best opportunity to fulfil their true potential it is thanks to people like Jeanette, stepping forward to give their all to fostering, that this is possible.”

Melody Douglas, managing director of FosterTalk, comments: “We work with foster carers on a daily basis and are proud to be able to recognise the positive impact they make on the lives of others through these awards. We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges, but this award for Jeanette is well deserved and we hope it inspires other people to consider becoming foster carers.”

Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, who grew up with around 90 foster brothers and sisters, said: “As someone from a foster family, I know how vital it is for foster carers to have access to support as and when they need it – from the moment they welcome a new child into their home to the moment they leave. FosterTalk has provided invaluable help and advice to foster carers over the past 10 years, making sure they have everything they need to provide a stable, loving home. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to both FosterTalk and the foster carers they support for everything they do to make a difference to the lives of foster children.”

Having been fostered at the age of eight, Lorraine Pascale understands what it takes to be a great foster carer. Commenting on her involvement in the awards, she said:

"I am proud to be a part of this celebration which shines a light on the important role that foster carers play in our communities. I know, from personal experience, the transformational difference they can make to the children in their care and the availability of the type of support offered by FosterTalk is crucial to successful placements."

Hyper-fast broadband rolled out in Manchester

Thousands of Manchester city centre residents are set to have access to hyper-fast broadband within the next six months.

A campaign was launched to get internet speeds improved.

It follows complaints that connections are too slow for the demands of a major city.

One company has already started to roll-out fibre optic links to customers:-

Video Clip: Labour Councillor Kevin Peel, Manchester City Council.

End of slow broadband for thousands of residents

City centre residents campaigning for better broadband Credit: City Centre Voice

Thousands of city centre residents are set to have access to hyper-fast fibre optic broadband.

Slow broadband speeds are a constant complaint in Manchester city centre, which despite being the region's top economic hub suffers from a poor service.

Labour councillors launched a petition several to show service providers there was a demand for a faster service.

Several companies are now developing proposals to deliver services.

Speaking at the launch of the rollout, Lucy Powell MP said:

"It is simply unacceptable that you can get better broadband speeds in parts of rural Cumbria than you can in the centre of Manchester.


Appeal to find missing mum and young son from Salford

Simona Valyte and her four your old son Domantas Cerapokas Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Police are growing increasingly concerned of the whereabouts of a four-year-old boy from Salford.

Domantas Cerapokas was last seen on Tuesday 11 October 2014 at his home on Trafalgar Grove, Lower Broughton. His mum, Simona Valyte, picked him up to take him to the local park but did not return.

Despite extensive enquiries, both have not been found and police are appealing for anyone who may know where they are, to contact them.

It is believed they are in the Greater Manchester area although the family do have links to Lincolnshire.

Manchester fire fighters to strike before bonfire night

Manchester Fire crews are to strike for four days in the run up to Bonfire Night. Credit: PA

Manchester Fire crews are to strike for four days in the run up to Bonfire Night.

Manchester Evening News reports that fire crews will walk out at 6pm on October 31 and not return until 6pm on November 4.

The move comes after a three-year dispute over pensions.

Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.

Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters or the long term.

– Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary
Load more updates