Improving Hartlepool Podcast Episode 3

 Hello & welcome to the Improving Hartlepool Podcast, I’m Steve your presenter.

The Improving Hartlepool Podcast is looking in to community matters, how Hartlepool could be improved, & how it could be a better place to live & work and everything else in-between.

I would like to pay my respects to Tommy Fletcher, hearing about the news of his passing has deeply saddened me, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the family & friends of Tommy.

Coming up on this episode of the Improving Hartlepool Podcast.
We start by taking a brief look at any major developments that have been announced.
We then move on to Hartlepool Holiday Hunger Scheme, and then look into the empty commercial and industrial buildings around the town, we then look at a video released by the Hartlepool Independent Group and ask is it true?

Then it’s on to the launch of Improving Hartlepool website, and some of the community features it is to offer. (public food map, pothole map, etc.)

We also have another two regular features the first feature we take a look in to ideas or what’s happening in other parts of the country or even the world this section is called Would it Work and asking if it would work in Hartlepool, and on this podcast, we are asking if a Plastic Free Hartlepool is a possibility?

And the last item is about buying or shopping local, where I review a shop or local service I have used recently.

Hartlepool Holiday Hunger Scheme

In 2016 a scheme to feed hungry children during school holidays was piloted in Hartlepool, the council initially set aside £38 thousand pounds from its child and family poverty Initiative reserve to pay for the scheme.

13 thousand pounds went onto food parcels and the remaining was given as grants to community groups which provide meals to children as part of their programme during the holidays, that was 2 years ago, the scheme is still running it’s just been held over this summer holidays where £25 thousand was made available again the money came from Child and Family Poverty Initiative Reserve, they have also allocated £10 thousand for the Christmas holidays this year and another £10 thousand for the 2019 Easter holidays, they are going to evaluate this year’s scheme and look at allocating another £25 thousand plus any under spend into a 2019 Summer holiday scheme.

During the Christmas 2017 scheme, 15 voluntary, community and public sector organisations received grants for the provision of healthy meals, snacks and food parcels for vulnerable children and families – more than 3,070 meals, 981 snacks and 467 food parcels were supplied and over 900 children benefited.

Empty Units

According to a FOI request In Hartlepool we have 2028 commercial buildings/units and 482 industrial building/units, of the commercial units we have 1727 in use and 301 stood empty that’s 17% of units/buildings not in use, although you can look at it as 83% are in use.

When it comes to the industrial units/buildings there is a total of 482 with 430 occupied and 52 vacant that’s only 12% I am waiting for other information coming from towns of a similar size so we can compare, however it could be a heck of a lot worse, we’re only 5% higher than the national average but compared to somewhere like Burslem near Stoke that has a 31% shop vacancy rate, I will be doing a full episode dedicated to this subject in the very near future comparing our town to others and with my views and ideas on how we can get them filled I would love to hear your ideas of how we can get these units/buildings filled bringing jobs into the town and getting the towns economy moving email or leave a comment on our Facebook page just search for the improving Hartlepool podcast

Hartlepool Independent Group Video

Hartlepool independent group have released a video highlighting alleged failure of the Labour Council, they say that council tax has increased year after year, but fail to mention it was frozen from 2011 until 2015, they also say our tax bands are more expensive than the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, however they again fail to mention that The London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is one of the cheapest places for council tax in the country.

Crime levels have risen by 11% in Hartlepool and youth reoffending is at 50% they fail to mention their sources, but nationally Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% so 1% higher increase than what it rose by nationally, but let’s not forget that since 2010 that Cleveland Police have lost almost 500 officers of various ranks.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger says that the lack of policing on streets is purely due to funding cuts, a visible presence reduces crime this is a well-known fact; they are pushed to the very limit they deal with everything from policing demonstrations to dealing with drink drivers of which just over 5 of every 1000 drivers in the TS24 postcode have drink driving convictions on their insurance policies.

Improving Hartlepool Website

We are now online and can be found at, you can find all the previous podcasts there, we also have an interactive pothole map where you will be able view potholes in and around Hartlepool, so submit a pothole to the map with a bit of information & a picture and allow others to see it.

We will also be launching a fruit map, with locations on where they’re food/fruits are available to be picked, for example I have a bay tree in my front garden and if you’re passing grab a handful of leaves and add them to your curry or whatever that may require them, add locations of bramble bushes, apple trees anything, sharing is caring.

Lots more is coming and again email your suggestions, or even better go to scroll down the home page and you will see a contact form fill that in with suggestions of what you would like to see on the site and we’ll see what we can do.

The podcast has gone live on iTunes so subscribe, we managed to reach 14 in the apple podcast charts in the local category yesterday, that’s down to you for listening, so keep listening and let’s try to keep improving Hartlepool podcast improving Hartlepool.

Would it Work?

In this episode of Would It Work we look at if a Plastic Free Hartlepool would work.

Penzance became Britain’s first ever plastic-free town. The Cornwall community achieved this status December 2017, by uniting against straws, bottles, takeaway boxes and disposable forks. Now 330 other towns have aims to follow them.

It’s estimated that for every metre of British coastline there are 7 pieces of rubbish, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures and videos of animals and creatures all tangled up or dead from plastic, it’s over 100 million marine animals killed each year from plastic debris in the ocean that’s hardly surprising either because according to 79% of all the plastic ever created is still in the environment, we’re still only recycling 58% of our plastic bottles & 70% of UK drinking water is thought to contain plastics.

There has been calls from the Marine Conservation Society for Hartlepool Council to ban balloon and Chinese lantern releases over fears of animal deaths, and this was discussed on the 13th of June where A representative from Greenpeace, who was in attendance, and invited to address the Committee, spoke in relation to the negative impact of balloon releases on the environment and, in particular wildlife as well as marine wildlife, also A representative from Miles for Men, whilst acknowledging the
environmental issues associated with balloon release, shared examples of
circumstances during which balloon releases/sky lanterns had assisted
individuals dealing with grief.

The council decided to that a public consultation period be in place until the 30th of September.The towns MP Mike Hill backs the ban, there is a group on Facebook called Plastic Free Hartlepool which has a lot of information and a lot of tips to help reduce your plastic waste.

We as consumers can only do so much, and more pressure should be put on big companies, and manufacturers, why isn’t there a big levy for the amount of single use plastics they sell or distribute, as long as there is no financial hit and people keep buying nothing will change, the charge for plastic carrier bags is to be increased to 10 pence and be rolled out to every shop regardless, instead of a blanket ban, what’s wrong with fabric bags, hemp been one medium that is cheap, it grows fast and biodegradable, in fact what about hemp as an alternative to plastic altogether.

Shop Local

We now move on to the final segment of the podcast where I review a local business or service and, in this episode, I am reviewing Pizza Guys takeaway on Park Road.

I have ordered from here a few times, I’m not going to lie, I am the only person in my household that can cook and sometimes it’s nice to have a break from cooking.

I’ve tried there parmos, original, explosive and bolognese.

I’ve tried their gourmet burger with cheese, and there Bacon bacon burger, and also the hot mutha clucker burger, I’ve had there pizzas, and there nachos, my most favourite food from there though is the chips.

However sometimes they’re good sometimes there not so good, you’re probably best collecting as sometimes delivery can be a bit longer than expected, but I don’t think you will be disappointed, I think the pizzas are amazing.
Again, I will point out this is not an advert, I’ve not been paid to do it and they probably don’t even know I am reviewing them, it’s just my opinion as a customer.

I’ve been Steve & thanks for listening to Improving Hartlepool Podcast see you again on the next episode.

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