Introducing the River Roch Forum

Last month we shared how The local SURF elections hit Rochdale! On 2nd October 2013, the newly formed group of representatives met for their first monthly meeting.

Sarah Kissack, Team Leader at AFG Rochdale said: “The group were asked to come up with a name for their local involvement forum.  After a creative session over tea and biscuits, Katherine Lukash, member of the group and original representative of the Service User Representative Forum (SURF) when it was formed in 2008, suggested the group select a name with a Rochdale meaning.

“Kathryn, being interested about the history of Rochdale, and therefore quite knowledgeable about the area, mentioned the River Roch, which has recently been opened back up in Rochdale town centre.

Everyone agreed on the idea so we ‘Googled’ the River Roch to see what exactly it was famous for.

Sarah explained: “The group found that the River has been converted in Rochdale town centre since the early 20th century. This was built by the joining together of seven bridges to form one large bridge, making it one of the widest bridges in the world.

Everyone agreed that this would represent them well. They really liked this story behind it  – and so ‘The River Roch Forum – One Big Bridge’ was formed!”

Carol Toner, Community Services Director for Rochdale said: “Having been involved from the beginning at AFG of how we listen to the voices of the people we support, I am always pleased to read and hear about how the groups are developing. The creation of the ‘River Roch Forum’ in Rochdale is, I believe, a true move towards real involvement for the people we support.

As Community Services Director, I am very much looking forward to arranging monthly meetings with the group and seeing how they grow in terms of expectations and indeed aspirations.  By meeting regularly we can explore the top priorities for the people across Rochdale, working in partnership to achieve the very best outcomes for people.”

Read more about last month’s local SURF elections

Jodie's speech

River Roch member Jodie during her election speech

Some of the members of The River Roch Forum, AFG Rochdale

Some of the members of The River Roch Forum, AFG Rochdale