Community Champions leave Greave a better place

After 20 years of inspiring work with the Greave Community Base and over 35 years fighting for local people, Barbara and Rick Todd have swapped ‘rocking the boat’ for ‘rocking chairs’.

Barbara Todd, who in her time has been a shop steward, councillor, Greater Manchester Police Authority representative, member of the Rochdale Boroughwide Housing board and dozens of other bodies has stepped down from official involvement in local community and political work.

Barbara Todd said: “Since starting in 1981 with setting up a play scheme in Greave and through all the years it’s reached the point where I have to say it’s ‘my time’ now.”

For the play scheme and community base they won £3.8m funding which was matched with another £3.8m from the council to build and establish the base and their community work.

Together with partner Rick Todd, the couple have been the backbone of community action in Greave and surrounding areas. Rick, who works as a mechanic, has been treasurer for Greave Community and other groups as well as setting up an IT suite to give local people the digital skills they need.

Rick Todd said: “To be honest, when I arrived on Greave I had been sentenced to do 240 hours community service. That brought me into contact with the people of Greave, including Barbara and we have been together ever since.”

One of Barbara’s proudest achievements was fighting for improved housing from the council (before RBH took charge of homes in the Borough).

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“I ended up organising a rent strike over the need for rewiring and central heating. A judge agreed with us and we won our case.”

In recognition for Barbara and Rick’s services to Greave the couple were recently celebrated by the community as they retired from official involvement. As well as receiving a present from Greave Community Base, Rochdale AFC presented them with a VIP day at the grounds.

Barbara, a former school cleaner, is not worried about the future of the community centre. “We have passed things on to a great team who have been involved with us for years. Rick, myself and Greave can look forward to good days ahead.”