Archive for November, 2009

County council initiative scoops national award

Monday, November 30th, 2009

It is really important to celebrate success, especially when it is recognised nationally. Which is why id like to mention a county council team based at leek Specialist Technology School. They are celebrating after winning a national award for their work in supporting the young people of Leek.

Room 21, an initiative set up by the county council to provide a one-stop-shop for young people looking for help and support, scooped the Extended School Award at the Children and Young People Now 2009 Award ceremony in London.

The room provides a safe environment for students and families to get support from learning mentors, health professionals, parent support works, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Youth Offending Team, Connexions and many more without having to leave the room.

I am very proud of the team especially as since its opening in September, there have already been 3,992 visits to Room 21. It is a simple but innovative approach that is making a real difference and directly contributing to improved behaviour and attendance at school and a reduction in the number of young people not in education, employment or training.

Well done to everyone on the team!

£1million lifeline for Staffordshire businesses goes live

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Im very pleased to announce that small businesses in Staffordshire from today will be able to benefit from a new loan fund to help them through the hard times of the recession.

The new Staffordshire Business Support Fund was my my colleagues and I in cabinet only last month and today we have officially opened for business!

So, whats it all about? Staffordshire County Council is investing £500,000 in the new fund which will be matched by a further £500,000 from the European Regional Development Fund, via Advantage West Midlands.

The loan which is being delivered by the Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS) will allow existing businesses in the county, with up to 50 employees to apply to BCRS for loans of £10,000 to £50,000.

In these hard financial times quick access to finance is essential to the local economy in Staffordshire. On my journey’s I have noticed that many well-run businesses have been finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat through the recession. Quite often customers may fail to pay on time, but suppliers still need to be paid. The ability to keep cashflow running will determine whether the business survives or fails – and if it fails, that means jobs lost within our local community.

Businesses interested in applying for loan funding should contact BCRS directly on 0845 313 8410 or complete a fast-track enquiry form available at

Schools unite for anti-bullying message

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

To mark national anti-bullying week im pleased to say that schools from across Staffordshire have come together to write a poem against bullying.

It is so important that our young people unite against bullying as nationally, nearly 35 per cent of young people have been victims of cyber-bullying, with girls twice as likely as boys to be victims.

Our Primary and Seconday schools collaborated online to write two poems about cyber-bullying, giving advice on what to do and where to go for help. Pupils were encouraged to submit a line each for a poem which was condensed down into two powerful poems. Find out more about anti-bullying week go to

Say Yes to Staffordshire news

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

As many of you know we produce the Your Staffordshire magazine which goes to every household and is designed to keep you up to date with all news from around the county. Im pleased to announce that we have just launched YeS, our new e-magazine, which will act as Your Staffordshire’s online companion. The online publication will be delivered electronically straight to your inbox four times a year and will keep you up to date with news in-between the hard copy of Your Staffordshire.

As well as news there will be regular competitions to win some fantastic prizes. Why not Subscribe to YeS now.

County set for Christmas music treat

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Staffordshire Performing Arts has a treat in store for all music lovers this Christmas. A wonderful Festival of Christmas Music programme has been put together which has something for all the family to enjoy throughout December.

Many concerts will be taking place across the county specifically designed to get people in the Christmas spirit. Choirs from a range of local schools, colleges and clubs will be show casing their talent and treating us to some of our festive favourites. Why not come along, I will certainly be visiting one of the concerts with members of my family!

Trading Standards top tips

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Just a short post today folks. As Christmas season approaches id like to bring your attention to some of our Trading Standards top tips for shopping safe online. As more and more of us buy our presents online these days it is important that you are aware of what you are buying and where you are buying it from. Take on some of the following advice to make sure you make wise decisions when purchasing. Go to

Win prizes at our libraries this winter

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

 I’m pleased to say we have officially kicked off our Winter Reading Challenge in Staffordshire. If you are over the age of 16 then you could be in with a chance of winning lots of fantastic prizes.

To launch this new initiative, libraries across the county will be holding special coffee mornings.

So, what’s the challenge? We would like you to read five books of your choice. After this we will give you an entry form and you will be invited to write a short review of each book you have read. We will then put your entry form into a prize draw to be in with a chance of winning lots of free books and a year’s free subscription to the fantastic New Books magazine.

If you are old enough to enter this competition I would really urge you to take part. Parents, why not encourage your children to take part. Most young people read books at school and for pleasure at home anyway so why win some prizes along the way! For more information visit here

Staffordshire Hoard celebrated with golden ale

Friday, November 20th, 2009

For those of you that have had a tough week at work and are planning on enjoying a drink with friends and family, why not toast the end of the week with golden ale.

A brewery situated just yards from the Staffordshire Hoard site has launched the celebratory ‘Hoard’ ale. Produced by the Backyard Brewhouse, The Hoard Ale is available at a selection of outlets including the Uxbridge Arms in Chasetown and County Staff Club in Stafford.

Austen who runs the brewery contacted us at the county council for help and information on the official images that Ale 1he could use in the design and I’m pleased that we have supported him with this. This brewery is a good example of a small independent business and I’m pleased that they are getting involved in such an important discovery that has put Hammerwich on the map. It’s also nice to see a growing number of pubs in the area supporting local business.
I’ve had a little try of the tipple myself and it is a great golden bitter that is definitely worth sampling.

Activities at your fingertips

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Today, at a special ‘Speak Out’ conference we have launched our exciting new website which provides young people in Staffordshire with a wealth of activities at their fingertips. New Picture is a new web-based database of activities for young people aged 11 to 19 and is the first in the county to bring together activities from across Staffordshire, from many different organistions.

The site has been designed for and by young people and features a whole host of activities ranging from drama, dance and sports to youth clubs, Scout and Guide groups, workshops and forums. Having all these activities in one place is very handy and it shows just how many opportunities there are for young people to get involved around the county. Designed by Staffordshire Youth Service and partners there are currently over 23,000 activities to search.

So, lost for something to do in your free time? Why not visit the site today. We’d really appreciate all your feedback and if you run activities for young people why not get them included on the site. You can register details for free.

Future of learning in Staffordshire

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Today we held our monthly cabinet meeting to discuss future plans for Staffordshire and its residents. I’m not going to go into detail about what was on the agenda and the outcomes of the meeting as I think our latest news package from SCC TV sums it up nicely.