Archive for October, 2009

Local Democracy week

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

This week is National Democracy Week and to mark the event in Staffordshire we held a Local Democracy Dinner for young people around the county.Blog

The event which took place at County Buildings in Stafford brought together Staffordshire County Councillors, including myself and twenty five people from district Youth Forums, the county’s Youth Action Kouncil (YAK) and national Youth Parliament. It’s important young people are involved in the democratic process and the dinner gave us the opportunity to find out what matters most to young people in the county at the moment.

We were all asked a series of questions which we then voted on using interactive voting pads which was great fun. This was followed by a healthy and very constructive debate around each issue that was voted on. The three main topics we covered included perceptions of young people in the media, promoting local democracy and bullying.

All in all the event was a great success and was a valuable experience for me and fellow councillors as well as for the great young people we met. It is really admirable that they have got involved and are doing an important job in making young people’s voices heard.

Celebrating our diversity

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

As some people may know, October is Black History Month. It provides an occasion to celebrate the diversity of our IMG_2596 blogcommunities and contributions Black and Asian men and women have made to the development of British society, technology, economy and culture.
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I went to a fantastic event today in Stafford which was organised by our Black Workers Support Group at Staffordshire County Council to mark the occasion. This year’s event was more vibrant than ever with performances, dancing, henna painting, hair braiding and stalls. We were also treated to some delicious Asian and Caribbean food! Take a look at how others are celebrating Black History Month here.

Cabinet papers out today!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The cabinet is made up of a group of county councilors and it is our job to make key decisions about some of services that you use on a daily basis. We meet once a month to discuss new proposals, policies, budget planning, community planning and many other important issues that will affect the Staffordshire public.

Each cabinet meeting is webcast and we also make the agenda public on our website a week before so that people can see the sort of things we plan to discuss. The papers for our next cabinet meeting have been released today, you can view them here. At the next meeting we are going to be discussing how Staffordshire stays financially strong through the recession, new support for parents and job opportunities for young people across the county. Why not tune in live on October 21st.

Speak out and make your voice count

Monday, October 12th, 2009

It’s a common thing to say but young people today are our future and it is really important that we listen to what they’ve got to say. This is why I am really pleased to be supporting the Youth Action Kouncil’s Speak Out conference in November.SB

The Speak Out conference will bring together young people from all over the county to talk about issues that matter most to them and suggest practical resolutions to resolve key issues.

The Youth Action Kouncil (YAK) is a group of young people who represent their peers throughout Staffordshire. Following their consultation with young people across the county YAK will bring 4 key issues to the table, transport, the negative image of young people, lack of things to do and bullying.

Not only will the conference be useful for young people but I think it will be extremely beneficial for us as county councillors too. This will be their opportunity to affect some of the decisions we may make in the future and I am sure we could learn a lot from them as well!

The event is being held at the Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday 19 November and is open for all young people aged 13 and 19 (inclusive) who live, work or study in the county. If you fit into this category I would certainly urge you all to join in and look forward to seeing you there.

For more information or to book your place, contact Kathryn Lowe on 01785 277220 or log onto www.staffordshirechildrenstrust.org.uk.

Local traders give us a Taste of Staffordshire

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Congratulations to all those local eateries who won awards at this year’s Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards. GuestSpeakerIanParrypresentsattheGoodFoodawards200Staffordshire is full to the brim with fantastic restaurants, farm shops, cafes, and pubs and it is great that we can recognise their efforts to help put the county on the culinary map. My colleague Deputy Leader Ian Parry attended the ceremony as guest speaker and handed out this year’s accolades. On his return Ian told me about the extremely high standard of entrants and said that it wasn’t an easy year for the judges. Find out who the winners were here

Shop Spot logo blog2This distinguished food and drink awards scheme highlights the quality of our local producers in what I think has been a tough year for local business. As a local farmer myself I know how hard it is to keep business going throughout a recession. This is why we have launched our ‘Shop Staffordshire’ campaign which has kicked off in Uttoxeter and highlights the value for money and quality that our local shops provide. Why not get behind the campaign and support your local traders. See www.staffordshire.gov.uk/shoputtoxeter and look out for the shop spots!

Not a waste of time

Friday, October 9th, 2009

At the county council we are encouraging Staffordshire residents to get involved in our latest campaign called ‘Beyond the Bin.’

waste picI was surprised when I discovered that only 15% of waste in Staffordshire comes from our homes! I immediately wondered about where the rest of the waste comes from. The other 85% is made up of around 4 million tonnes of waste which is produced for and by people in Staffordshire from things like commercial outlets, farming and so on. It’s hard to remember but the things we buy and throw away are just the end products.

All the waste that we produce needs to be recycled, turned into energy or composted somewhere and it is very difficult making decisions about where new waste sites will go. It is important however that we consult with Staffordshire residents before making decisions which is why Beyond the Bin gives people the opportunity to have their say about a new proposal for waste sites in the county. No one likes to make the decisions about where new waste sites will go which is why it is so important for you to get involved at this stage. Find out more at Beyond the Bin! 

Noreen does the honours

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

IMAG0384I think that in times like these it is important to recognise the work that many local people do to help others in our county. Today I met a very inspiring lady called Noreen Oliver who, following her own struggle with addiction turned her life around.  Noreen opened two treatment centres in Staffordshire for people with a drug and / or alcohol misuse problem. By providing a rehabilitation programme for communities affected Noreen has transformed the lives of thousands. A couple of years ago Noreen received an MBE for her fantastic work which I think was very well deserved. I met with Noreen to see how our services at Staffordshire County Council can continue to work together with her treatment centres to help local people.

A golden heritage

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

652 Birds & Fish  2At full council yesterday I also discussed the importance of bringing the Staffordshire Hoard home once it has been valued. This fantastic Hoard is now part of our heritage and we need to do it justice. Along with our partners we have a duty to represent the best interests of the people of Staffordshire.IMAG0381

On a slightly different note, my other job as a local farmer has also kept me busy ploughing the fields this week. Unfortunately the only thing that I found when working was a few rusty horse shoes and as you can see from my picture, some following seagulls! No gold in sight! 

October’s County Council

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Hi everyone, hope you are all enjoying the nice Autumnal weather at the moment!

The last week has been a very busy one for me and for Staffordshire County Council for that matter. 

Today my colleagues and I met for full council. The full county council for those who aren’t sure comprises of all 62 councillors. We hold meetings at least six times a year and at the meetings we discuss and agree major policies which govern the way services are provided for you. We also formally discuss the county council’s general approach to scctvthings in the future. We webcast each of these meetings so that you can become a part of the decision making too.

Today’s county council was quite interesting as we discussed our new recession action plan for Staffordshire. The plan aims to support local people by providing funds to the Citizens Advice Bureau and offering loans to small local businesses. See for yourself how the plans will unfold in our latest news package on our SCC TV channel.