Archive for October, 2009

Take care and be aware this Halloween and Bonfire night

Friday, October 30th, 2009

halloween 3x4 format Higher resolution 200This Halloween and Bonfire night we are reminding everyone in Staffordshire, particularly our young people out there, to ‘Take care and Be aware’. The colourful campaign from us and our partners is simply about making sure that Halloween is a treat for everyone and that Bonfire night is a safe and enjoyable time for all residents. 

We aren’t being killjoys, we want everyone to have fun over this celebratory period but it’s important to remember that some people can find the unexpected knocks on doors and loud bangs frightening and intimidating, especially some of the older members of our community. It’s really important that young people consider their own safety also.

This is why we are asking our younger members of the community to follow some simple dos and donts over this fun and festive time. Visit the Take care and Be aware site now to take a look and you could also be in with the chance of winning the latest iPod nano! Happy celebrations everyone!

Enjoy card reaches 25,000 milestone

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Back in the spring the Enjoy Card was launched to promote some of Staffordshire’s top tourist attractions and today we are really pleased as 25,000 of you have signed up to scheme! It is great to know how popular the card has been and that people are supporting our local economy in difficult times.

Enjoy-Card-animatedFor those of you who haven’t signed up yet, the free promotional card offers great discounts across the county at attractions such as Alton Towers, Trentham Estate, Waterworld and Tamworth Castle. Special offers include kids go free places and two-for-one deals. Sign up for your free card to day www.enjoystaffordshire.com

Driving home the safety message

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Today we have launched our latest road safety campaign which warns motorists about the consequences of using mobile phones whilst driving.

DCP_2499 blogEye catching billboards have been placed along the A38 between Fradley and Hilton to remind people to not use their mobile whilst driving. Despite recent government figures showing that Staffordshire has the safest roads, over the last 3 and half years a total of 144 collisions have taken place on this stretch of road. This is why it is so important our Staffordshire Safer Roads partnership does everything to reduce this number, but we need motorists to help us achieve this.

The next phases of the campaign will tackle vehicles driving too close to eachother and drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts. The overall campaign message is clear – keep both hands on the wheel, strap up and keep your distance.

Major changes afoot

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Today the county council hosted a large scale chamber debate about the future of adult social care services in Staffordshire. County councillors and many invited guests from county’s care sector gathered to discuss plans for ‘Staffordshire Cares’, the new vision for Staffordshire – and how it will fundamentally change the way we approach social care and health across the county.

The new vision which will be implemented over three years and proposes some very useful things such as a new countywide phone number which provides a wide range of advice, information, signposting, simple assessments and 24/7 emergency contact all in one place. Also planned are local information points and one stop shops providing access to a full range of face to face services.

I am very excited about these new plans and the new fresh approach to joint care. We will be announcing further news about Staffordshire Cares over the coming weeks but in the mean time if you missed the debate you can watch the live webcast here.

Join us to view the past

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

This Sunday we are inviting everyone to peer into the past at one of our archaeological digs in the heart of Stafford. The Tipping Street excavation has unveiled some fantastic hidden treasures including a grotesque and ultra-rare 17th Century jar designed to scare off witches. The glazed “Bellarmine” jar was found on the site of the former Turk’s Head Inn beneath the car park and has taken centre stage ever since. But the jar is not the only artefact that our archaeologists have unearthed on the dig. The site has opened a window on Stafford’s past that could stretch pack as far as prehistory.bellarminejarstafford200

Carbon deposits in the gravel deep down could be an indication of human activity on the hill above the marsh going back thousands of years. We have also discovered three kilns and thousands of sherds of high class Stafford ware pottery.

Archaeological wonders seem to pouring out of the ground in Staffordshire at the moment so I would encourage everyone to come along and take a look at the weird and wonderful! Our county council archaeologists will be on hand to answer all your questions too.

Planning a brighter future

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Today I met Professor Janet Finch, Vice Chancellor of Keele University and saw for myself the exciting things Keele are doing in scientific research, medical school and teacher education. This is a picture of us both looking at the 72 Prof Finch Keele Oct 2009acre fully fitted out site from the top of one of the new buildings already occupied by firms doing medical and environmental commercial work.

I was able to see for myself the examples of the high value work happening in Staffordshire which is then being turned into commercial operations that will help drive aspiration and our local economy. The work here will also provide the necessary training for teachers so that they can create more opportunity for young people as they search for jobs.

The meeting also gave us a great opportunity to discuss with governors and private sector partners how we are going to work together to increase job opportunities for young people across the county.

It’s official – we have the safest roads!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I was really pleased today to hear that Staffordshire is top of the league for road safety! Figures just released by Government show that we have managed to reduce serious casualty rates to three for every 100 million kms travelled. That compares with four for Shropshire and Warwickshire, six for Cheshire and Derbyshire and eight for Nottinghamshire. traffic lights

Despite being an enormous county with a very challenging network of over 3,500 miles of road, Staffordshire has managed to reduce its casualty toll by 57% over the last decade so I am really pleased that we have come out on top! It shows that by combining training, education, campaigning, engineering and enforcement we can make our roads as safe as possible. Credit should also be given to drivers themselves as they are contributing towards the safety too.

Cabinet meets to push plans forward

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

We met for cabinet today to discuss a number of exciting things in the pipeline for residents in Staffordshire. We discussed a number of things including financial plans to ensure Staffordshire emerges from the recession in better shape than ever, new job opportunities for young people and more support for parents. I wont go in to it too much as I think the news package we have put together below sums it up nicely! If you missed the live webcast you can still watch it as a download here.

Pupils take over for the day

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

As part of Local Democracy Week we are running workshops with pupils across the county to give them a flavour of how local politicians make decisions about their area.

LDWThe task for Staffordshire pupils will be to decide how they would spend thousands of pounds of public money. The sessions which are taking place in council chambers to make the experience as realistic as possible, are being run by a council officer and local county councillor.

My colleagues are I really value these democracy events as they give our young people greater understanding of what we do in local government. By asking the pupils to become councillors for the day they can learn while also having fun and really using their imagination with the role play. We’ve already had some pupils really getting into the debate and asking for their school cabinet to resign!

The pupils are also learning about overspend and realising that there isn’t an endless pot of money to spend on public services, although one fellow councillor did experience an under spend at his workshop the other day which was a first! It’s been great to see so many primary schools involved and the feedback we’ve had already has been fantastic.

It’s all about them

Monday, October 19th, 2009

At Staffordshire County Council we have an awards scheme aptly named All About You that recognises staff Team1 blogdedication and hard work. Today I attended my first All About You awards ceremony as leader of the county council and I can honestly say it was a real pleasure. The room was full to the brim with employees such as careers who deliver front line services and ensure communities get the help and support they need. I felt very honoured to be handing out the certificates and it was nice to actually take the time to have a chat with each award winner. Well done to everyone including Becky Fuller and Alan Smith who won in our ‘External’ category which looks to honour those that go that extra mile in their role to help the community.