Italian Festival attracts a crowd

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich:

Yet another wonderful event took place at the weekend in the heart of the city with the Peterborough Italian Festival drawing crowds to Cathedral Square.

It was a pleasure to sample the delicious food on offer and soak up the unique Mediterranean atmosphere.

So a big thank you (or should that be grazie!) to organisers from the Peterborough Italian Community Association.

We are lucky to live in a city with so much going on, and for a small-sized area we certainly punch well above our weight when it comes to the arts and culture.

The next big event on the horizon is the much-anticipated Perkins Great Eastern Run which takes place on Sunday, October 14.

Whilst I won’t be donning my trainers and vest (my knees aren’t what they used to be), many hundreds of people will be taking part and coming along to offer their support.

Anyone thinking about taking part but who hasn’t signed up yet, should bear in mind that the deadline for discount entries is Friday, September 21.

And don’t forget that our free training sessions as preparation for the event are still taking place on Wednesday evenings from 7pm at Peterborough Embankment Athletics Track in Bishops Road up until October 3.

For more information about the race and how to enter visit www.perkinsgreateasternrun.co.uk

On Tuesday, two voluntary groups from Peterborough received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Sailability and Railworld Wildlife Haven were handed the prestigious accolade which is the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary groups in the UK.

I am absolutely delighted for them both. It is fully deserved and a fantastic honour for the city of Peterborough as a whole.

Peterborough Sailability, based at Ferry Meadows, offers people with disabilities the chance to sail and broaden their horizons. Anyone who has seen the group at work will know what a much valued and dedicated organisation it is.

Railworld Wildlife Haven, based near Nene Valley railway station, helps create and maintain wildlife habitats as well as running an environmental education centre, providing recreational, social and educational opportunities for young and old.

Brian Pearce, the man behind it, has worked tirelessly along with several volunteers to turn a derelict piece of wasteland into a thriving community facility enjoyed by young and old alike. In fact Brian has also been awarded the MBE for his work, so what a year it has been for him.

Also receiving a prestigious honour this week was Peterborough youth worker Tahir Masood who was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to young people and the community. Tahir has worked tirelessly for many years and his contributions have positively impacted on the lives of thousands of young people growing up in the city. So it’s another richly deserved honour.

On the subject of awards, if you know an individual who always goes above and beyond, or a group that helps out in the community, why not put their name forward for a Peterborough Civic Award? We launched the awards four years ago to recognise residents, groups and organisations and businesses that make a real difference.

The awards use an open nomination scheme which means anyone can nominate a resident, group, organisation or business within the city for an award, as long as they meet the award criteria.

The award categories are; Young Person, Lifetime Achievement, Community Involvement, Business, Environment, Contribution to Art and Culture and Contribution to Sport. The closing date for nominations is October 30. For more details and nomination forms visit www.peterborough.gov.uk or email civicaward@peterborough.gov.uk.

Finally, I was delighted that an application to substantially expand the Ken Stimpson school was approved by planning committee last week.

As the fourth fastest growing city in the country and the fact that there was a baby boom in Peterborough between 2002 and 2010, the need to create extra school spaces is an urgent one.

The Ken Stimpson expansion will see the school increase from some 1,014 pupils to 1,650, with the extended facilities ready for new pupils by 2020.

We are committed to providing classroom spaces to ensure that the educational needs of children and young people in the city continues to be met.