Episode 6 Call the Council


Episode 6

Series following officers of Wigan council. Officers help residents with rubbish in their alleyways, assist police with an emergency and help those dealing with dementia.


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Transcript


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From rubbish and recycling...

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to potholes and pavements...

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Another street down, another street to go.

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..educating our children...

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Fantastic.

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-..and caring for the elderly...

-It does make a difference

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when you see what can be achieved.

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..we rely on our local councils to provide a huge range of services.

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You may kiss the bride.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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In this series, we follow front-line staff

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working for Wigan Council in Greater Manchester.

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-LOUD THUD

-Oh! Sorry.

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Like council offices across the country,

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-they're protecting us from hidden dangers...

-Oh, dear.

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..stepping in when there's an emergency...

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You never know what you're turning up to.

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-..and responding to residents...

-Thanks for everything.

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-Good job done.

-..when they...

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PHONE RINGS ..call the council.

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Coming up, council officers get tough

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when residents complain about dumped rubbish...

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No, it needs to go.

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-Have you got bins?

-Who do we need a plate for?

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..provide a lifeline to people living with dementia...

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I want the community to know about the disease

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and to be able to help and support people within their community.

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..and help the senior citizens sleep easier at night.

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I'm glad they've come because I feel much safer now.

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Try opening it and seeing if it's easier for you.

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The Local Government Act of 1888 created the councils we know today.

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We rely on them for vital services, like emptying our bins,

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providing residential housing and taking care of those in need.

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-I've been a bit better.

-Yeah, exactly.

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There are now 433 local authorities across the UK,

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employing over two million people. One of those is Wigan Council.

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Its metropolitan borough covers 77 square miles,

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and it's home to over 22,000 residential council properties.

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Keeping them in tiptop condition is a never-ending job.

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Wigan Council employee Scott Howarth and his apprentice,

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Jake Green, are part of a team who make sure that...

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every window...

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door...

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and kitchen cupboard is functioning properly.

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I've worked for the council probably coming on ten years now.

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I wouldn't leave a job that I wouldn't expect to have

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done in my own house, so I have got quite decent standards.

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All right, Scott, what you after?

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The council's maintenance team are given the option to volunteer

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-to be on-call for 24 hours on top of their normal duties.

-See you later.

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This week, it's Scott's turn.

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You do your normal 37-hour week, and then once you get home,

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basically, I'm sat at home, I have my telephone

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and I just wait for jobs to come in, but they can come in any time.

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You might get ten jobs throughout the week,

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you could end up with six jobs in a night. Gets me out of house,

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saves me watching telly in the house all the time.

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Two screaming kids at home, so it is easier to go to work.

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It's not high-octane excitement all of the time.

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Until an emergency call comes in, Scott

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and apprentice Jake have some run-of-the-mill repairs.

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Every day is different, which - that's what makes it enjoyable,

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I suppose. I wouldn't like thinking I was doing the same job every day.

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You're always out and about.

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An emergency call could come at any moment.

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Right, we'll start in t'kitchen.

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We've got other jobs what we need to keep going round.

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Obviously, we take the emergencies, but, with an emergency, it is

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just a case of a waiting game, obviously.

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An emergency is an emergency,

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and you don't know when they're going to come in.

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When an emergency call does come, Scott has to drop everything.

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PHONE RINGS

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Hello.

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Just changing a window at Walsh House.

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How quick do you want us to get there?

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Yeah, no worries, mate.

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All right, mate, see you in a bit.

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A car has gone through a temporary fence around a building site.

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It is the old Wigan nightclub, the old Wigan Pier.

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The broken fence could be a risk to motorists and pedestrians,

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-so Scott and Jake hit the road to Wigan Pier.

-It is on the highway.

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It's part of a tripping hazard in the area, the floor is uneven.

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So, yeah, it has been put to t'front of t'queue, so...

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The way traffic is at this moment, I'll be there in about 20 minutes.

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We're nearly like a fourth emergency service. Well, not yet.

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It'd be really good if we did have a blue light,

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though, the amount of traffic you sit in.

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Immortalised by Georges Orwell and Formby, Wigan Pier now stands empty.

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There are plans to redevelop the site as a cultural quarter

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over the next ten years, but, for now,

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employees like Scott manage the site and keep it safe.

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The fence has been pushed off the wall,

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whether it has been with kids or by a vehicle.

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Obviously, anybody walking down a bit...

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short-sighted or anything could end up down the embankment.

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So we need to put the fence panels back onto the footpath,

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and obviously this bit here has been snapped -

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whether it has been by a car - plus there's a foot missing.

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So what we'll do, there is

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a hire shop just round the corner what sell these panels.

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So we'll go there and get a new panel.

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And get this back up and running.

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Obviously it won't fit in our van.

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These lads, their delivery wagons are already out,

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so instead of us waiting, it is literally a five-minute walk,

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so we might as well walk, otherwise it'll take us longer to

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wait for the delivery when it come back, so these two can carry it.

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One lad were volunteered, and obviously - apprentice.

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I've got the heavy stuff, I've got the clips, let's go. It's all right.

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You've got one thing, I've got four. Come on, I've drove over.

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There's nothing there, is there?

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When you have an apprentice, would you be carrying it,

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or would the apprentice be carrying it?

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Scott and Jake get to work fixing

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and replacing the fencing and making the site safe.

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Yeah?

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The cars could obviously not realise where the kerb is

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and end up down, but I think it is more for pedestrians, really.

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What, two foot of a drop?

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Obviously, somebody walking down, it is a bit of a bad bend,

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as you can see. The vehicles coming past at 40, 50mph.

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Once the traffic builds up, and there's people getting their kids coming out of

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colleges, people coming out of t'town centre, it is like Brands Hatch.

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Time for the last section of fence, and the moment of truth.

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This is where it could all go wrong now, because if that doesn't reach that,

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we're going to have to move all that up here.

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Like that, there you go. We need a bigger panel.

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We've now got a two-foot gap, so we're going to have to try

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and drag it all this way a little bit. Just wait until all the cars have stopped,

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just in case it falls over. Go on.

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OK. To you.

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OK.

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Couldn't do that first time again, could you? Not bad for first guess.

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OK, job done, let's go home, mate.

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Still to come, Scott is called into action again...

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We're going in, but they're going to check the door first.

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..joining forces with the emergency services in the middle of the night.

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There are around 4,000 public libraries across the UK.

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In England alone,

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councils have invested over £750 million annually into this service.

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In Wigan, the council's customer services manager for libraries

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is Alison Eaton.

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She works closely with events programming officer Rita Devlin.

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I care passionately about everything that we deliver in libraries.

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We've worked together and worked in the library service

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-in Wigan Council for 38 years.

-And very proudly.

-And very proudly.

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And I love saying, "Yes, I'm a librarian."

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Your job title might not have that in. But that's what I do.

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In this day and age, libraries are no longer just about borrowing books.

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The libraries deliver on so much and so many agendas.

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We're the hub of the community.

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Council officers like Alison and Rita play a vital role

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supporting the community they serve.

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-Are you winning, Doris?

-No, I'm deliberately helping her to win.

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Oh. That's what I like to hear.

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SHE LAUGHS

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Magical Memories is their latest initiative.

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Inspired by charity The Alzheimer's Society,

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the sessions focus on people living with dementia.

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-That looks good, doesn't it?

-It looks really good.

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It's really eye-catching. She's done a fantastic job.

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With the dementia group we run,

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a big part of people who are living with dementia feel as

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though they're not part of a community, they feel very lonely.

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They feel as though they're a burden.

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We're helping address that and getting everyone together,

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and the social element is just as important as the reminiscence.

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Very much so.

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There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.

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Caring for them costs the UK economy over £26 billion a year.

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In Wigan, one route open to dementia patients and their carers is

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to take part in monthly sessions run by Alison and Rita.

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I've got the link to all the photographs

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taken from the last session.

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So we can refresh those, put those up, and let people see themselves.

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Let's have a look, that's great.

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We have a full programme of different activities,

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whether it is music, whether it is objects,

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film, pictures,

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lots and lots of ideas, to stimulate the mind.

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And to stir those memories up a bit.

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One couple benefiting from Magical Memories are Vince

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and Mary Mather, who have been married for 59 years.

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We're going to have a look at our wedding album. Do you remember this?

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-You remember this book? You wrote all this out, didn't you?

-Yes.

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In April 2011, Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

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Do you not remember this? Do you not?

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-No.

-You see?

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This is Mary Ellesmere, that's you. Isn't it? Or it was.

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-What have you put that for?

-You put that down, that's your writing.

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-I didn't.

-Yes, you did.

-Did I heck.

-Oh, you did a long time ago.

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-I did not.

-You did.

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The council sessions like the one we have at the library are good

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because she loves watching other people.

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You can see her smile, laughing at other people. It relaxes her.

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Now, who's that? 'She can't really take part in the bingos.

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'She'll do a little bit of singing.

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'I mean, she knows the words to a hell of a lot of songs.'

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I don't know why, but she does remember them all.

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You know, from the 1950s and '60s and that.

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Now, there you are, see?

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Lovely girl.

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You don't deserve what you've got, sweetheart. You don't, honestly.

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'Unless you're going through it, or have actually gone through it,'

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to look after someone like that with dementia,

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there's nobody can tell you what it's like. Nobody can describe it.

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It is indescribable. Basically.

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Alison and Rita know first hand what caring for someone with

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dementia is like.

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If we put this out, I think, because it has got the issues.

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Rita and I have personal experience of dementia, in that our parents...

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My dad is 92 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's

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probably about, er, three, four years ago.

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So I'm very, very passionate about it.

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I get a lot of satisfaction out of my job, but this is that

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little bit more special to me because of where I'm coming from.

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Still to come, Mary and Vince take a musical trip down memory lane.

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MUSIC PLAYS

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SHE LAUGHS

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Did everybody get that one?

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Around 28 million tonnes of household waste is thrown

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away in the UK every single year.

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Disposing of this waste affects each and everyone of us, so it's

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no surprise the Great British public have a lot to say on the issue.

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We've got recycling, we've got food bins, we've got glass bins,

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as well, and, to be honest, it has been running smoothly at the moment.

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This cul-de-sac I live in,

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we've just changed over to wheelie bins, and the people up here

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did not know what was supposed to be put out this week.

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If you've got a computer, you can go in and have a look,

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but if you haven't, you have to rely on neighbours.

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We've had an issue with the bins, the council have sorted that out.

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They came down straightaway, sorted it out, that was quite good to see.

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Because I've heard they can be a bit, well, a bit slow in a way,

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in some aspects. But that was quite good how they acted straight on.

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I still haven't got my head around the fortnightly bin collection.

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That's still a little bit difficult and in, you know,

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certain areas, um, that's causing a lot of fly tipping.

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Wigan Council receives over 35,000 calls a year about waste.

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And environmental enforcement officer Alex Kay's job is to

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make sure that the streets

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and alleyways of the borough are free from unwanted waste.

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People have a right to live in a clean environment.

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We provide the necessary bins to get rid of the waste,

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household waste, and not everybody does that.

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People end up having to live next door to people who maybe

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don't deal with their waste properly, and accumulate waste.

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Today, he's responding to a resident who has called the council about

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rubbish building up in back alleys and gardens close to their home.

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I think I've already been here once before and asked our team to pick

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the waste up because we couldn't establish where it had come from.

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But then we've had another complaint about the same thing,

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so either they've not picked the original waste up, or...

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..there's more stuff being dumped, so we'll go have a look.

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Alex has been with the council for 12 years

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and is well versed in the laws about property,

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residents and their responsibilities.

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Under the Environmental Protection Act, and also the new Antisocial Behaviour Act,

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we do have powers to, if we believe there's a nuisance being caused,

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then obviously we can enter people's back gardens and the like.

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But, you know, we can't just willy-nilly go be walking into people's back gardens,

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but we, you know,

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use your common sense and deal with it that way.

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Rotten refuse isn't just smelly and an eyesore, it attracts vermin like

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flies and, more worryingly, rats, which can spread Weil's disease.

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So, as you can see on this street, there's quite

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a lot of properties to let.

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So there's a lot of turnover of tenants.

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And, you know, that causes a lot of problems because...

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with it being a high turnover, a lot of tenants are just in and out

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and they leave waste in the back.

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Alex has the power to serve a nuisance abatement notice to persistent offenders.

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If they don't clean up their act, and their rubbish,

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the council will do it for them, billing them for the cost.

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There is some waste in the alley up and down, little bits, it is...

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This is the same stuff that was here last time.

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But one thing, just looking at that gate there, that gate is wide open.

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We put alley gates on to stop antisocial behaviour

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and to stop people from being able to get into alleys to fly-tip.

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If the residents just leave them open, we're fighting a bit of losing battle. But...

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There's no shortage of rubbish building up in the far from private back alleys,

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but Alex has been called out about one house in particular.

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So, this is what has been reported to us, as well.

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Alex heads round the front of the house to speak to the resident.

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If he can clear up the situation on the ground now,

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it will save a lot of time and money in the long run.

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Hi, love, I'm from Wigan Council waste services.

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Just about all the stuff in the alleyway at the back.

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-There's a mattress and some black bags.

-But there's a hitch.

-This?

-No.

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-In the back alley, at the back.

-None of the residents speak English.

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Hi, are you all right? It's just about the waste in the back

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alley way. You know, in the back?

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-I don't speak English.

-Right. Should I show you? This.

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-Alex is an experienced negotiator.

-I need that to go.

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-But he doesn't speak Romanian.

-Who's your landlord?

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-I don't speak.

-Oh, right. All right.

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-It's OK?

-No, it needs to go.

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Have you got bins? Have you not got bins?

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It is about this here. Can't stay there.

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The residents have one green bin for garden and food waste, but they should

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also have three more for general waste, paper, glass and plastics.

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Have you got bins? Is that yours? No.

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-Have you got a blue one and a brown one?

-No speak.

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Yeah, it's all right. I'll find out who your landlord is, I'll contact your landlord.

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-All right.

-All right.

-OK.

-Thank you.

-Bye.

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Increasingly diverse populations mean that many councils

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employ teams of translators to make sure all residents can

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access their services.

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But today, it's up to Alex to try and cross the cultural divide.

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Language is a problem quite often with us now.

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You get families who move into properties,

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and nobody really explains them what they've got to do.

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With regards to the waste, you know, they don't know

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when the binmen come, they don't know what waste goes in which

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bin, so we end up with contaminated bins or end up with waste

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accumulations like we've got now.

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It's a rubbish situation for Alex, but in what appears to be

0:19:550:19:59

the residents' eagerness to resolve the situation, they've

0:19:590:20:02

called in an English-speaking friend to translate.

0:20:020:20:06

I need this... Basically, they are going to have to get rid of this.

0:20:060:20:09

-So, how are we doing?

-Well, you can take it to the tip.

0:20:090:20:12

-Have you got a car?

-Er...

0:20:120:20:15

They have a car, but... Where are we to bring it?

0:20:150:20:20

To the waste recycling centre. It is only a couple of miles away.

0:20:200:20:23

-If I give you the address.

-Yes, but we can do it now.

-Whenever.

0:20:230:20:29

-So long as you do it by the beginning of next week.

-Yeah.

0:20:290:20:33

Is that all right?

0:20:330:20:34

And then what I'll do is, I'll drop them off a green, a brown and a blue bin.

0:20:340:20:39

-OK.

-And with a notice telling them exactly what goes in what bin.

0:20:390:20:42

Is that all right? And then hopefully you should have

0:20:420:20:44

enough room in here then, just for the rest of the waste.

0:20:440:20:48

-Is that all right? I'll leave that with you.

-Thank you.

0:20:480:20:52

Things are looking more promising.

0:20:520:20:54

It looks like Alex's firm but fair approach might pay off.

0:20:540:20:58

It is about using a bit of common sense and working together for the best resolution.

0:20:580:21:02

And making sure they know what they're doing going forward,

0:21:020:21:05

and then that should, hopefully, stop the problem.

0:21:050:21:07

Alex will be back on Monday.

0:21:090:21:11

But will the mattress and the rest of the rubbish still be here?

0:21:110:21:15

All right, Scott, what you after?

0:21:300:21:31

This week, council joiner Scott Howarth is on call.

0:21:310:21:35

In addition to his regular duties, for the next 24 hours he's

0:21:350:21:38

required to respond when the public call the council with an emergency.

0:21:380:21:43

See you later.

0:21:430:21:44

He's ten hours into a shift which has already seen him

0:21:460:21:48

fix a dangerous fence.

0:21:480:21:50

Couldn't do that first time again, could you? Not a bad for a first guess.

0:21:540:21:58

Right, job done, let's go home, mate.

0:21:590:22:02

Having secured it, Scott stays on call, ready to respond to any

0:22:050:22:09

-emergencies while coaching his son's football team.

-Nice.

0:22:090:22:13

Oh, three, Blues.

0:22:130:22:15

Phone in pocket, still on, nothing at the moment.

0:22:170:22:21

I'm expecting to get there as soon as, depending on what the job

0:22:210:22:24

is, but they don't expect you just sitting there and doing nothing.

0:22:240:22:28

Still on call. No rest for the wicked.

0:22:310:22:34

-Hello.

-A tenant has called the council with an emergency.

0:22:370:22:41

-Luckily enough, Scott has still got his eye on the ball.

-Right, there you go.

0:22:410:22:45

A lady's locked out, basically. Sat outside the property.

0:22:450:22:49

With a young child.

0:22:490:22:51

I'll go home and get changed, put my work clothes back on.

0:22:510:22:54

-And go back to work.

-Can I go get a drink?

0:22:540:22:56

Right, yeah, go in, all get a drink.

0:22:560:22:59

A quick trip home to collect his van,

0:22:590:23:01

and Scott's soon back out on council business.

0:23:010:23:04

But there's fresh information about the job he's duty-bound to attend.

0:23:040:23:08

Somehow they've managed to lock themselves in the house,

0:23:080:23:10

and they've not got a key to get out the house.

0:23:100:23:12

So it's classed as an emergency

0:23:120:23:14

because obviously they can't get out through the front door.

0:23:140:23:17

Just in case there was a fire.

0:23:170:23:19

Obviously they need their access to get out the property.

0:23:190:23:23

I got it about 25 minutes ago.

0:23:230:23:26

They want us to respond within a two-hour window.

0:23:260:23:29

At the caller's house, Scott is beckoned to the back door.

0:23:340:23:38

-It's this way?

-Which is open.

0:23:380:23:41

-It's the front door that he's been asked to fix.

-What have you done?

0:23:410:23:45

-Have you just lost your keys?

-Lost them.

-Right, no worries, it's fine.

0:23:450:23:50

Obviously, if it's lost keys, I'll take the lock out, put you a new lock in.

0:23:500:23:53

All right?

0:23:530:23:55

-How did you even open the door?

-Because I'm magic.

0:23:570:24:01

-This key here, I hope this weren't the key.

-No.

0:24:030:24:06

SHE LAUGHS

0:24:060:24:08

It takes Scott less than two minutes to change the lock.

0:24:090:24:12

Right, keys are in the back of the door. All right.

0:24:120:24:16

-That was quick.

-Oh, I don't mess about at this time.

0:24:160:24:19

All right, see you again, love.

0:24:190:24:20

See you later, bye.

0:24:200:24:23

All right.

0:24:230:24:24

The council is obliged to carry out certain emergency

0:24:240:24:27

-work for their tenants.

-See you later.

0:24:270:24:29

But they will charge for the service.

0:24:290:24:32

That's easy, that's what you want when it's call-ins.

0:24:320:24:35

Don't want me hanging about, don't want big jobs.

0:24:350:24:38

Just want nice little jobs.

0:24:380:24:40

But on a 24-hour callout, Scott never knows what's coming next.

0:24:400:24:44

Every now and again, you get the bigger jobs.

0:24:460:24:48

You get stolen cars into properties, unsafe buildings,

0:24:480:24:53

fire damage. I've had drink drivers,

0:24:530:24:57

on occasions, into properties.

0:24:570:25:01

So their property then becomes unsafe.

0:25:010:25:04

Hello?

0:25:040:25:06

Sure enough, someone else has called the council.

0:25:060:25:09

It's another lock-related job.

0:25:090:25:11

Right, no worries, mate. Cheers. See you later, mate. Bye.

0:25:110:25:14

The lady can't secure the property.

0:25:160:25:19

It's 9:20 now.

0:25:190:25:22

By the time I get home, it will probably be about 10:30.

0:25:220:25:25

Which, as I was out last night at 2:30, 5:30, you know,

0:25:250:25:29

I'm getting ready for going home. I want a bit of tea, to be honest.

0:25:290:25:34

I'll definitely have done the hours today. All right, love.

0:25:340:25:37

Problem with your door?

0:25:370:25:38

I'll have a look. The door may just need adjusting.

0:25:390:25:42

-I'll have a look and make sure you can do it.

-I was locking up.

0:25:420:25:46

And I put my key in the door. And I couldn't get it out.

0:25:460:25:51

So I had to send for the council.

0:25:510:25:55

Yeah, we come all throughout the night, we make sure we get here.

0:25:550:25:59

The barrel is just a bit worn - wear and tear.

0:25:590:26:02

It has probably been... There might have been an incident when the door

0:26:020:26:05

was fitted, which, looking at it, it's probably at least six,

0:26:050:26:08

seven year old.

0:26:080:26:10

The weather has got to it, seized a little bit,

0:26:100:26:13

and it is just causing a bit of problems. And the lady can't open it, so...

0:26:130:26:17

I'm going to put a new lock in it for you.

0:26:170:26:19

Just to be on the safe side. And I'll oil it up,

0:26:190:26:21

-make sure it is all right.

-Right. You'll come again to do that?

0:26:210:26:24

-No, I'm going to do it now.

-Oh, good.

-All right?

0:26:240:26:27

Yes, of course it is.

0:26:270:26:29

-Say that again.

-I don't want you see me with my teeth out.

0:26:330:26:36

She doesn't want me to see her with her teeth out.

0:26:360:26:39

You'll be all right, don't worry.

0:26:390:26:41

Once again, within minutes, Scott's got the job done.

0:26:430:26:47

Right, love, do want to just try it, see if it is all right for you?

0:26:470:26:51

I'm a little bit more heavy-handed.

0:26:510:26:53

Try locking it and see if it's easier for you.

0:26:530:26:56

-Yeah? Is that all right for you?

-Yes.

0:26:560:26:59

-All right.

-Very good.

0:26:590:27:01

Easy. Easy.

0:27:010:27:04

I'm glad they came, because I wasn't looking forward to tonight...

0:27:060:27:11

in case, you know, that door wasn't fastening properly

0:27:110:27:15

with the key.

0:27:150:27:17

I feel much safer now.

0:27:170:27:20

And it's all thanks to Scott.

0:27:200:27:22

All right, see you again, love. Good night.

0:27:220:27:25

The man on call for the council.

0:27:260:27:28

Scott is getting some much-needed rest in front of the telly

0:27:330:27:36

with his wife, Charlene.

0:27:360:27:38

But the callout phone is never far from Scott's side.

0:27:380:27:41

I like going helping people.

0:27:410:27:43

You know, you get job satisfaction.

0:27:430:27:45

I mean, you've made somebody's day.

0:27:450:27:47

Under his T-shirt he's got a tattoo.

0:27:470:27:49

That's Superman.

0:27:490:27:50

He thinks he is Superman.

0:27:500:27:52

I am Superman.

0:27:520:27:54

So much for a quiet night in.

0:27:540:27:56

Wigan's very own man of steel is back out,

0:27:560:27:59

responding to the latest call for help.

0:27:590:28:02

And this one sounds like it could be serious.

0:28:020:28:05

The police have asked for the assistance to get into a property.

0:28:050:28:09

I come to this property a few week ago.

0:28:090:28:11

And the guy had been on some sort of medication.

0:28:130:28:15

He was hanging out the bedroom window.

0:28:150:28:17

So the police and the paramedics were there.

0:28:170:28:20

I gained access for 'em then.

0:28:200:28:23

2.30am.

0:28:240:28:26

Scott arrives to find the police are already on the scene

0:28:260:28:29

of the disturbance.

0:28:290:28:30

He's on standby to open the door to the property if required.

0:28:300:28:34

But the situation is changing rapidly.

0:28:340:28:36

They're going in, but they're going to check the door first.

0:28:390:28:42

They were threatened by six of them with the vest

0:28:420:28:45

and the helmets on, so...

0:28:450:28:47

We'll have a look.

0:28:470:28:49

Scott knows his skills could be called on at any moment.

0:28:490:28:52

Other than that, he's in the dark.

0:28:520:28:54

To be honest, it seems like they've just put the door in.

0:29:010:29:03

In an unexpected turn of events, the police abandon the softly,

0:29:030:29:07

softly approach.

0:29:070:29:09

It looks like Scott's locksmith skills won't be required.

0:29:090:29:12

The police have put the door in, so there's no point me going just

0:29:120:29:15

yet, because if they take him away

0:29:150:29:17

then the front door will need securing. So...

0:29:170:29:19

I'll see what happens.

0:29:190:29:21

There's little Scott can do now but stick around on standby and wait.

0:29:220:29:26

They're in there wrestling with him at the moment.

0:29:260:29:28

But, obviously, the front door's open.

0:29:280:29:32

We was here if they needed us.

0:29:320:29:34

The resident causing the disturbance is

0:29:350:29:37

treated in the back of the ambulance.

0:29:370:29:39

It's very late and it's very dark,

0:29:390:29:41

but Scott is ready to step in and help.

0:29:410:29:44

It's all right, no worries.

0:29:440:29:46

They had no electric on in there,

0:29:460:29:48

so as they entered they struggled a bit so they wanted a light.

0:29:480:29:52

So...

0:29:520:29:54

If 'owt, a light come in use.

0:29:540:29:57

Wigan Council saves the day, eh?

0:29:570:29:59

-All right, cheers, I'll see you later.

-Good night.

0:29:590:30:02

It's three in the morning,

0:30:050:30:07

but finally peace is restored to this Wigan street.

0:30:070:30:10

The police have all gone, the paramedics have gone.

0:30:130:30:16

We're still here, though, making sure everything's safe.

0:30:160:30:19

Erm, the property's safe.

0:30:190:30:22

The light's away now, but when I get home, I'll put that light on charge.

0:30:220:30:25

Onwards and upwards, eh?

0:30:270:30:29

Back home, unless the phone rings.

0:30:310:30:34

Environmental enforcement officer Alex has been responding to

0:30:470:30:50

complaints that rubbish is constantly being

0:30:500:30:52

dumped in a back alley.

0:30:520:30:55

It's about this, here.

0:30:550:30:56

It can't stay there.

0:30:570:30:59

Who's your landlord?

0:31:000:31:02

Most people.

0:31:020:31:04

After trying to explain waste management to the tenants who

0:31:050:31:08

spoke virtually no English,

0:31:080:31:10

a brand-new set of recycling bins has been delivered.

0:31:100:31:14

Now Alex is back to see if they're being put to good use.

0:31:140:31:17

In the meantime, since we last came, I've spoke to the owner

0:31:180:31:21

of the property, who's then put me in touch with the letting agent

0:31:210:31:25

and I've asked the letting agent to try and contact the tenants just to

0:31:250:31:28

maybe speak to them and explain to them

0:31:280:31:30

about what they need to do with regards to the waste.

0:31:300:31:33

So we're back today to see

0:31:330:31:34

whether they've cleared up the mess they've left

0:31:340:31:36

and whether they're getting to grips with the recycling

0:31:360:31:39

and to see what state the bins are in, basically.

0:31:390:31:41

The rubbish that was previously dumped here has gone,

0:31:420:31:45

but it's been replaced by another load.

0:31:450:31:47

Making matters worse, the new recycling bins

0:31:470:31:50

are not being used properly.

0:31:500:31:52

So the blue bin's contaminated because it's got plastic bags in it,

0:31:530:31:57

which are a no-no, which is just general household waste.

0:31:570:32:00

As you can see, the stickers tell people what they can

0:32:000:32:02

and can't put in. There's not really any excuse -

0:32:020:32:04

there's plenty of information about what you can

0:32:040:32:07

and can't put in and what you should and shouldn't be doing,

0:32:070:32:10

but it's just a bit of an ongoing issue.

0:32:100:32:12

There's our recycling leaflet

0:32:160:32:18

which has been given all the attention it needs.

0:32:180:32:22

I'm sure it goes in the blue bin.

0:32:230:32:25

Alex laid down the law on his previous visit,

0:32:270:32:30

but it seems this has been lost in translation.

0:32:300:32:33

The mattress from a week ago may have gone, but a bed base

0:32:330:32:36

and a microwave have taken its place.

0:32:360:32:39

Another neighbour claims to know where it's all coming from.

0:32:390:32:42

-All that rubbish there...

-Yeah.

0:32:430:32:45

-..comes off them bins there.

-Right.

0:32:450:32:46

-I've been on to the council because we had two rats in last week.

-Yeah.

0:32:460:32:49

Running up and down.

0:32:490:32:51

There's food there, there's food waste.

0:32:510:32:53

-There's food and everything. The cats are always here, as well.

-Yeah.

0:32:530:32:56

-Leave it with me, I'll get it sorted out. All right.

-Cheers, buddy.

0:32:560:32:59

There's no evidence that this new rubbish has been dumped by

0:32:590:33:03

the tenants Alex has been dealing with,

0:33:030:33:05

but he'll get it cleared up.

0:33:050:33:07

We have a service where you can pay and we'll come and pick that up.

0:33:070:33:10

They've just thrown it out thinking it's going to get taken away.

0:33:100:33:13

I don't know whether it's because they don't know or

0:33:130:33:15

whether they do know and they're just chancing their arm.

0:33:150:33:18

You can't throw your waste out and expect the council to come and pick it up.

0:33:180:33:22

It's becoming a bit of a problem that we're going to have to deal with.

0:33:220:33:25

The residents whose rubbish he can identify have had plenty of warning.

0:33:250:33:29

Their landlord has promised to help his tenants manage the waste,

0:33:290:33:32

but now the time for a quiet talking to, in whatever language, is over.

0:33:320:33:36

It is frustrating because obviously somebody moves into a property and

0:33:360:33:39

we're making sure that they've got clean and empty bins

0:33:390:33:42

and giving them all the options to recycle, educating them,

0:33:420:33:44

telling them what goes in where.

0:33:440:33:46

Erm, and it just doesn't happen.

0:33:460:33:48

We're just going to take the recycling bins away

0:33:480:33:50

and don't give them the option then to contaminate the bins,

0:33:500:33:53

just leave them with one black bin.

0:33:530:33:55

Then just move it on and put the onus on the owner of the property now to make

0:33:550:33:58

sure his tenants are doing what they're supposed to be doing

0:33:580:34:00

when it comes to the waste.

0:34:000:34:02

The dumped rubbish will now be cleared by the council

0:34:020:34:05

and the residents will be left with just one black bin for all of their household waste.

0:34:050:34:10

This drastic solution makes

0:34:100:34:12

is simply more cost effective for the council.

0:34:120:34:15

If an element of recyclable waste is going to landfill,

0:34:150:34:18

when you weigh that against the cost of constantly sending

0:34:180:34:21

officers down trying to re-educate, it's easier for us

0:34:210:34:24

to ask them to take it to the waste recycling centre.

0:34:240:34:27

Across the borough, at Tyldsley library, the council has been

0:34:360:34:39

running Magical Memories, a monthly session for people living with dementia.

0:34:390:34:43

People who are living with dementia feel as

0:34:430:34:46

though they're not part of the community.

0:34:460:34:48

We're helping address that, in getting everyone together.

0:34:480:34:50

Two people benefiting from the sessions are Vince Mather

0:34:500:34:53

and his wife Mary, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011.

0:34:530:34:59

She loves watching other people

0:34:590:35:01

and you can see her smile, laughing at other people.

0:35:010:35:05

It's Wednesday morning and council librarians Sandra Ashcroft

0:35:100:35:14

and Marlene Chadwick are hard at work.

0:35:140:35:17

20, 22, 24, 26...

0:35:190:35:21

30. How many have we got?

0:35:210:35:24

How many? Is that enough?

0:35:240:35:26

They're getting ready to open the doors for today's session.

0:35:260:35:30

We have them once a month and people come along.

0:35:310:35:35

We do a bit of singing, we play bingo,

0:35:350:35:39

just things to stimulate people.

0:35:390:35:41

It's a bit of a socialising thing for them, as well.

0:35:410:35:44

Then, at the end, we have another sing-song, which they

0:35:440:35:47

all really enjoy.

0:35:470:35:49

We'll have to be careful these don't blow away, actually.

0:35:490:35:52

I might just turn that off.

0:35:520:35:54

The idea is to stimulate memories

0:35:540:35:57

of things that they remember, like the eras and the films

0:35:570:36:00

and the musicians of the times when they, obviously,

0:36:000:36:03

can have happy memories, hopefully.

0:36:030:36:05

Most of them are quite elderly.

0:36:070:36:09

There was nothing for people with dementia in Tyldsley,

0:36:100:36:14

so we're trying to make Tyldsley dementia-friendly

0:36:140:36:16

and we decided that we wanted to put one of these sessions on.

0:36:160:36:19

We thought it was important because there was lots

0:36:190:36:21

of coffee mornings and different things in the area,

0:36:210:36:24

but there was nothing like Magical Memories.

0:36:240:36:26

These are little bottle tops that we recycle.

0:36:280:36:31

We collect them so that they can use them.

0:36:310:36:33

Some of the people aren't very good with their hands,

0:36:330:36:36

they can't hold pens very well. So we do that.

0:36:360:36:40

They're just the perfect size to cover the bingo.

0:36:400:36:43

As well as the activities, the council serves lunch.

0:36:470:36:50

It's something that senior council officers Alison Eaton

0:36:500:36:53

and Rita Devlin think is vital to the session.

0:36:530:36:56

I will speak to Sharon, who does the food.

0:36:560:36:59

-That's great.

-And Marlene was thinking, maybe a steak-and-ale pie.

0:36:590:37:04

-That'll be nice.

-So I'm ordering 36.

0:37:040:37:08

We found that not only the reminiscence -

0:37:080:37:10

they wanted the social aspect, as well, to meet together,

0:37:100:37:13

sitting down, sharing a meal together.

0:37:130:37:15

It's been absolutely fantastic

0:37:150:37:17

and we've been getting 36 to 40 people - and it's not only people

0:37:170:37:22

that are living with dementia - it's their carers, as well,

0:37:220:37:24

that are coming along and that's such an important thing.

0:37:240:37:27

My dad currently lives with my mum.

0:37:270:37:30

Rita's mum's passed away.

0:37:300:37:32

We recognise how important it is for those carers, as well.

0:37:320:37:35

I think they're so grateful.

0:37:360:37:38

You can come into an environment where people understand.

0:37:380:37:41

People are not judgmental.

0:37:410:37:43

For Vince Mather, who is primary carer for wife Mary,

0:37:450:37:48

it's welcome respite from what's a full-time job.

0:37:480:37:51

She's come first in my life, always will do now.

0:37:520:37:55

I've got to do everything that we both used to share -

0:37:580:38:03

I have to do now, because she just doesn't comprehend

0:38:030:38:06

anything like that.

0:38:060:38:08

If I gave her a different cup, she won't drink it.

0:38:110:38:15

If I give her the same cup, she will.

0:38:150:38:18

Your tea's ready.

0:38:200:38:22

-Your tea.

-My tea?

-Yes, your tea.

0:38:220:38:24

Come on. For tea, it's tea-time. You know...

0:38:240:38:28

There are times, honestly, when I can I break my heart.

0:38:280:38:30

Come on. That's a good girl.

0:38:320:38:34

One of the biggest things I do miss is having a sensible

0:38:340:38:37

conversation with somebody because I can't have one with Mary.

0:38:370:38:41

But when I go to the council sessions,

0:38:410:38:43

I can go there and meet people that I can talk to.

0:38:430:38:48

Today's Magical Memories session has attracted nearly 30 people.

0:38:500:38:54

-Hiya, Vince, hiya, Mary.

-Hello.

0:38:540:38:56

Vince, hello.

0:38:560:38:57

All ready for a game of musical bingo.

0:38:570:39:00

Right, so, the way it works, you get a little snippet,

0:39:000:39:04

probably about 20 seconds.

0:39:040:39:06

-You try and identify and cover it up, if you know it. OK?

-OK.

0:39:060:39:09

-Can you hear me?

-Are you ready for your first song?

0:39:090:39:11

MUSIC: Knees Up Mother Brown

0:39:110:39:15

Can you turn it up, Sandra?

0:39:150:39:17

Are you ready for the next one?

0:39:210:39:23

MUSIC: Molly Malone

0:39:230:39:26

Just look at this, it's wonderful how it's inspiring memories,

0:39:290:39:33

it's getting people talking.

0:39:330:39:36

They're laughing, they're enjoying themselves.

0:39:360:39:39

It's just wonderful to see. It's very special.

0:39:390:39:42

Her reaction to music is very good.

0:39:520:39:54

This is why - it strikes a chord in her mind...

0:39:540:39:57

..that she does tend to remember.

0:39:580:40:00

She gets as much enjoyment out of watching other people singing

0:40:040:40:07

and enjoying themselves, as she does herself.

0:40:070:40:11

I think, mentally, she's singing up here, you know.

0:40:110:40:15

Lunch is served and Rita is in charge of dishing up.

0:40:180:40:22

Sharing food with somebody is quite a social thing to do

0:40:250:40:29

and it's wonderful to see people chatting away, shared tables.

0:40:290:40:34

We go and sit and join them, have a chat,

0:40:340:40:36

see how people are doing, and it works for both the person with

0:40:360:40:40

dementia, but also for the person who is caring for them, as well.

0:40:400:40:44

It's also Vince's chance to take a break.

0:40:460:40:49

It's more of a relaxing period for me, you know.

0:40:490:40:52

Some little weight has gone off my shoulder

0:40:520:40:54

because somebody else is there.

0:40:540:40:57

It's a shame, you know.

0:40:570:40:59

I see other people who are in the same situation as I am

0:41:070:41:12

and I see how they're coping and, obviously, it helps me

0:41:120:41:17

to give me confidence that I must be doing something right,

0:41:170:41:21

somewhere, you know. Yeah, I feel I get something out of it.

0:41:210:41:26

The session is topped off by a good old singsong

0:41:260:41:29

and ditties from days gone by.

0:41:290:41:31

# When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie

0:41:340:41:38

# That's amore

0:41:380:41:42

# When the world seems to shine... #

0:41:420:41:44

It does make a difference.

0:41:440:41:46

It does, to me, when you see what can be achieved by putting

0:41:460:41:50

things on like our Magical Memories session.

0:41:500:41:53

# Bells will ringting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling... #

0:41:530:41:55

It just raises the awareness of dementia

0:41:550:41:59

and the problems that people with dementia are facing.

0:41:590:42:03

# When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool

0:42:030:42:07

# That's amore... #

0:42:070:42:09

It's to break down the stigma that surrounds dementia.

0:42:090:42:13

Then you want the community to embrace dementia

0:42:130:42:15

to know about the disease

0:42:150:42:17

and to be able to help and support people within their community.

0:42:170:42:20

# When you walk in a dream

0:42:200:42:24

# But you know you're not dreaming seniore... #

0:42:240:42:27

Not so often, but at times,

0:42:270:42:32

she shows a glimmer of sign

0:42:320:42:36

of the old Mary.

0:42:360:42:39

I can see it.

0:42:390:42:41

I notice it, but it's short-lived - very short-lived - but it's there.

0:42:410:42:45

It's a feeling.

0:42:450:42:47

# That's amore

0:42:470:42:48

# That's amore

0:42:480:42:51

# Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli

0:42:510:42:55

# That's amore

0:42:550:42:58

# Amore

0:42:590:43:00

# That's amore. #

0:43:000:43:03

Like their council colleagues across the UK,

0:43:100:43:12

these officers have been trying to keep the borough's streets safe...

0:43:120:43:16

Anybody walking down could end up down the embankment.

0:43:160:43:19

..homes secure...

0:43:190:43:20

I'm going to put a new lock in it for you.

0:43:220:43:24

..supporting those in need...

0:43:240:43:27

It does make a difference.

0:43:270:43:29

It does, to me, when you see what can be achieved.

0:43:290:43:32

..as well as clearing neighbourhoods of unwanted rubbish.

0:43:320:43:37

Basically, they are going to have to get rid of this.

0:43:370:43:39

All of this, when their residents call the council.

0:43:390:43:42

We work as a team.

0:43:420:43:44

You go out there, and if you all work together,

0:43:440:43:46

all pull together, it makes the job easier, you get the job done.

0:43:460:43:49

Council officers in Wigan help residents with rubbish in their alleyways, assist police with an emergency in the middle of the night and help those dealing with dementia.


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