A major project to transform streets and public areas is helping to boost the town centre and create new job opportunities.
The Accessible Oldham scheme is making it easier, safer and more enjoyable to travel around Oldham – especially for cyclists and pedestrians.
The first phase of works got underway on Henshaw Street and Albion Street in the new year, vastly improving the streets around the market hall.
The works are being carried out by Oldham-based Rowan Ashworth Ltd on behalf of Oldham Council.
The company is also ‘giving back’ to the local community and economy by supporting the Oldham supply chain and creating much-needed new jobs as part of an overall £10m social value commitment.
Jordan Greaves, 21, from Oldham, was recently appointed Trainee Ground Worker after being supported into the role by the council’s Get Oldham Working service, which offers free help and advice to Oldham residents looking for work.
He said: “The Job Centre put me in touch with Get Oldham Working who recommended I send my CV and a covering letter to Rowan Ashworth as I already had my CSCS Card.
"A few days later they got in touch to offer me a trial - it went well and they took me on from there. I'm really enjoying it, I've been doing a bit of everything and learning a lot.
"I had been previously working as a gardener but broke my hand and lost work. This has given me a fresh start and I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go."
The initial phase of the Accessible Oldham works has included smoothing down cobbles to make the streets easier to use - especially for people in wheelchairs and with prams and buggies.
Holes for new trees have been dug and new drainage has also been installed including a new ‘rain garden’ - a special feature which collects rainwater and uses plants to prevent flooding and make the area more attractive and eco-friendly.
New paving stones and steps will be installed over the summer with the next phase of works focusing on the large square on Albion Street, near to Curzon Street.
Oldham Council Leader Amanda Chadderton said: “Thank you to businesses and visitors for their patience and understanding while we carry out these important works. Accessible Oldham is making a huge difference to the look and feel of our town centre and will complement our wider ambitions to transform the town centre, including the redevelopment of Spindles Town Square and the creation of the new Jubilee Park.
“These projects are not just about investing in Oldham as a place, they’re also about investing in our people and it’s fantastic to hear how the project has helped Jordan start his new career. We wish him every success in the future.
“It’s also helping to support the local economy and supply chain, something that’s really important as we recover from the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis increases.
“We look forward to the scheme continuing to transform the town centre and playing its part in improving Oldham in many ways.”
Accessible Oldham is a four-year project with phases across the town centre including new cycle routes, better disabled parking and traffic-free zones.
It has been funded after Oldham Council successfully bid for financial support from a number of external funding pots, including the Local Growth Deal, Future High Streets Fund and the GM Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.
To find out more, visit www.oldham.gov.uk/accessibleoldham