Fine week but just a shame about the weather

Hello again.  Weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse over the last few days, but lets hope the forecasters have got it wrong and that we have a fine and sunny bank holiday weekend.

I spent some time earlier this week visiting a couple of Extra Care Housing facilities in Stafford and Stone that we have helped to develop in partnership with Housing Associations.  For those of you that haven’t come across Extra Care Housing before, they are designed to provide older people and vulnerable adults with a home where they can be supported by flexible amounts of care so that they can remain independent for longer and avoid having to go into residential care homes.  Both facilities were very new and the quality of the accommodation and care was fantastic – at Stone it was built on the site of a former residential care home owned by the County, and the difference between the two was unbelievable.  Talking to staff and tenants was great and they all appreciated the vast improvements that had been made.  We intend to develop more Extra Care Housing across the County and it’s a great example of an area where we have listened to our customers and developed something in partnership that really meets their needs.

 As I mentioned in my last blog I also had a meeting with the Director of Public Health for South Staffordshire PCT, Dr Aliko Ahmed.  Aliko is a joint appointment between the County and the PCT (yet more good partnership working!) and, like me, pretty new to Staffordshire.  He is really keen to start raising the profile of the public health agenda across Staffordshire and we discussed a number of areas where we could make further progress.  Improving health and well-being is one of the top 3 priorities for our residents and the public health agenda, through tackling issues such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol misuse to name but three, has a major role to play in this.  I will come back to this theme in the future.

Last night I had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to attend the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets ceremony in County Buildings.  There are around 3,000 young people across Staffordshire involved in the cadets as well as numerous people who give up their time to be instructors to the cadets themselves.  The cadets – as well as having fun – learn a lot of important life skills that helps improve their confidence and they play a big role in helping their local communities.  It was great to be at the event where the contributions of the cadets and their instructors was recognised and to chat to some of the parents who were immensely proud of their children.  Two of the  cadets had won the national prize for best male and female air cadet – the first time that Staffordshire has had two winners in the same year, which is great for them and the County.

On the topic of awards it has been yet another good week for Staffordshire.  The children’s team have won a prize at the first regional safeguarding awards event, and two of our trainee accountants have been recognised at the CIPFA awards, coming first and third in the national prizes for their final examinations.  Huge congratulations to them all.

That’s it for the moment.  I hope everyone has a great bank holiday weekend and a good chance to relax.  I’m heading up to the North East with Tracy and Matthew to see my Dad, Sister & Brother in Law.  We are hoping to get a bit of time on Saltburn beach, weather permitting (think I’d better pack my thermals!)

Bye for now

 Nick

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