Barrie Grunewald: Why we must never forget

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Last week saw two very poignant and emotional events take place in the town centre to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

We hosted a ceremony at the Town Hall where many residents came out to join with councillors, council officers, faith leaders and students from various schools to pay tribute to those whose lives have been changed irrevocably or cut tragically short by persecution and genocide.

We were very fortunate to receive this deeply moving exhibition, as I’m sure any who saw it will agree

Council leader Barrie Grunewald

Meanwhile, Central Library held a remarkable exhibition courtesy of the Jewish Museum in London.

It highlighted the heroism and loyalty of Janusz Korczak, the Polish orphanage director who repeatedly refused sanctuary to stay with the children in his care, before being led to his death at Treblinka extermination camp in 1942.

We were very fortunate to receive this deeply moving exhibition, as I’m sure any who saw it will agree.

In other news, the council is warning people away from purchasing or renewing Blue Badges via third party sites, after one resident got in touch to tell us they’d been charged almost £50 for assistance with a Blue Badge application – a service we provide for free, with a charge of just £10 to cover the cost of the badge itself.

It is not necessary to apply for a Blue Badge through the site in question (bluebadgeonline.org) or similar, as applications can be made directly through your local authority or by visiting www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge.

Anyone concerned about this or similar issues should report details to www.actionfraud.police.uk

Finally, looking ahead to this week, we’ll be joining the nation in trying to put an end to mental health discrimination.

On February 4, it’s Time to Talk Day, when people across England are being asked to have simple conversations about mental health in a bid to eliminate the stigma that so often stifles those experiencing mental distress.

Time to Talk Day follows a successful local campaign – Time to Talk in St Helens #10000minutes – in which many residents logged their mental health conversations to a live map, contributing to a current total of over 20,000 minutes of discussion.

As many as one in four people experience mental health issues in the course of a year, and many are unwilling to be vocal about it. So why not talk with a family member or friend about mental health on Time to Talk Day and log it by emailing timetotalk@sthelens.gov.uk