Published June 5, 2020 at 12:58
The Mayor of Rossendale, Councillor Barbara Ashworth, is to continue in her role because of the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Traditionally the mayor serves for a year before handing over to a new one in an annual ceremony called Mayor Making.
However, Annual Council has been cancelled and Councillor Ashworth will continue for another year.
Council meetings are still taking place, such a Cabinet and Development Control to ensure democratic decision making continues.
But Councillor Ashworth will retain her position providing stability for another year.
Councillor Ashworth said:
“Being Mayor is a huge honour and privilege and I have enjoyed it immensely. I am happy to continue on in the role to provide a bit of stability but the circumstances are obviously awful.
“COVID-19 has impacted on all our lives. Many of us have been infected by it or know someone who has and many of us have lost loved ones. It has been a terrible, terrible time for all of us in the last few months.
“As the first citizen of this borough, I can wholeheartedly say, I am proud of how Rossendale has responded to this awful virus. We have supported each other, been kind to each other and all made sacrifices. We are not out of the woods yet and our resolve needs to continue to be strong as we continue to tackle COVID-19.”
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of the Council, said:
“Councillor Ashworth has been a superb mayor especially in the last few months where she has really helped provide civic leadership during an extremely difficult time for us all.”
Councillor Barnes also outlined a refresh of council portfolio roles.
“We have tweaked the portfolio holder responsibilities for the Council slightly to make sure the biggest agendas have clearer democratic oversight. We have created a new portfolio of health and leisure. It is a huge agenda – Health and care services are changing, there are big regional transformation programmes we need to influence and councils play a key role in promoting public health and preventing illness and disease either through our green spaces, delivering projects or our support for the leisure trust. So it makes sense to have a cabinet member explicitly responsible for it rather than having the responsibility subsumed in different portfolios.”