Oldham Council and a range of partner organisations across all sectors have been working to assist residents affected by today’s major explosion in Shaw.
A Rest Centre set-up at Crompton House school in the wake of the blast has been providing help for people unable to access their homes. So far it has assisted around 80 people from 40 families. All people requiring temporary accommodation are being housed tonight in partnership with First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO). Some are also staying with friends or family, or at Bed and Breakfast accommodation.
Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Devolved Services, said: “The response from the local community and partner groups to this tragic event has been heart-warming.We’re continuing to work closely with the emergency services who showed typical professionalism in responding so rapidly to this incident. The emergency planning that we have in place with blue light services appears to have worked well but the contribution from local residents, businesses and partner groups has been immense.
“Anyone visiting the Rest Centre has been able to access emergency housing help from First Choice Homes Oldham and medical aid from the Red Cross. Family advisers and counsellors have also been on hand along with community liaison officers from the police.
“In the immediate aftermath of the blast the local Asda supermarket gave up their restaurant to people evacuating the area, offering food and shelter and other items throughout the day. Several other local stores including Tesco and Primark also came forward with offers to assist in whatever way they could.
“A local taxi firm, Borough Taxis, took residents to the Rest Centre and we also have had so many offers of help from local residents. Even Crompton House pupils and staff assisted in setting up the facility this morning and also helped to ensure children were kept safe and well. In the face of such adversity everyone has pulled together in a fantastic community effort.
”Today’s events have touched everybody in the community and their response has been truly inspirational.”
Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, added: “I want to pay tribute to everybody has played their part in responding to today’s dreadful events.This loss of a child’s life has devastated a local community and affected the whole borough. As a father I can not begin to comprehend the pain felt by the family and friends. As a council I promise that we are here to help – not just for today – but for as long as it takes to help people rebuild their lives.”