Archive for July, 2011

Help us build a case for faster broadband in rural areas

Friday, July 29th, 2011

We’re working with the Rural Hub to find out how rural businesses and residents would benefit from a superfast broadband service. We’re asking people to complete an online survey which will help us put forward our case for Government funding which could help to achieve faster broadband speed in rural areas.

You can complete the online survey here.

Royal visitor discovers Staffordshire’s rural enterprise

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Royal visitCounty Council Vice Chairman Bob Fraser and I myself had the pleasure of meeting The Princess Royal on Tuesday 26 July as part of a visit to showcase Staffordshire’s rural enterprise.

During the day, the Princess Royal visited the Staffordshire Rural Hub – a community network of businesses which stimulates economic growth and is supported by the county council.

She also visited the Staffordshire Federation of Young Farmers and Amerton Farm; a thriving visitor attraction and example of farm diversification.

I was delighted to welcome The Princess Royal again to the county and was pleased that she had the opportunity to see the hard work and collaboration of the various rural enterprises in Staffordshire who maintain our beautiful countryside.

Our rural businesses, including agriculture, visitor attractions, retail and hi-tech companies play a vital role in Staffordshire’s prosperity and are part of our growing economic success story.

The Princess Royal clearly appreciated the importance of Staffordshire’s rural economy and I’m sure she left with a good impression of our forward thinking county.

Crowds celebrate the hoard as part of a cultural countdown to 2012

Monday, July 25th, 2011

With the first leg of the hoard exhibition to an end last weekend, crowds gathered to celebrate all things Anglo-Saxon as part of a special Cultural Olympiad event.

Aound 2,000 people gathered in Stafford on Saturday July 23 to take part in the festivities which marked the Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend.

Wth a year to go until the Olympic Games begin, communities across the country are being encouraged to celebrate their heritage in the build up to London 2012.

Saturday’s festivities provided an opportunity for people to discover more about the county’s history and signalled the end of the exhibition in Stafford before its onward journey throughout the county.

The celebrations in Stafford provided onlookers with a snapshot of Anglo-Saxon customs as well as storytelling and music. Similar festivities took place in Lichfield and Tamworth on the day.

Hoard exhibition proves a big hit in Stafford

Monday, July 25th, 2011

There was a fantastic turnout for the first stage of The Staffordshire Hoard on Tour, which sees star items from the world-famous archaeological collection of gold and silver objects on display at special exhibitions throughout the county this summer.

A total of 21,085 people visited the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford during a hugely successful three week run from Saturday July 2 to Sunday 24 July. That’s a fantastic turnout and is testimony to the affection people have for the hoard, which is such an important part of our county’s heritage. 

The exhibition now moves on to Lichfield Cathedral tour from July 30 to August 21 and then will be on display at Tamworth Castle from August 27 to September 18. I’m sure the exhibition will continue to prove popular throughout the summer.

Connecting with the communities in East Staffordshire

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Mosque visitI joined Chief Executive, Nick Bell on a community visit to East Staffordshire on Friday July 15.

We visited the Burton Addiction Centre and followed up with a visit to the Hill Street Health and Wellbeing Centre, witnessing first hand the good work going on at both venues.

Followed this up with a visit to the Princess Street Mosque to meet with local Imams and then onto a meeting with Community First Responders in Rocester Village Hall via a detour to the serene surroundings of Tutbury Castle.

Hordes at the Hoard

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The Staffordshire Hoard on Tour has proved hugely popular since opening on Saturday July 2. Crowds have flocked to see our sample of Anglo-Saxon treasures and feedback from visitors has been very positive. The exhibition runs until Sunday July 24 so if you haven’t been already make sure you book your place. It really is worth seeing. It’s free to enter but pre-booking is essential to reserve a place at the exhibition. Tickets are available at

Big ideas on the Big Society

Monday, July 11th, 2011

A Big Society event was held at the Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre in Stone on Friday July 8. My cabinet colleague Pat Corfield spoke at the event and he was joined on stage by speakers from higher education, and the private and public sectors. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the reality behind the concept of the Big Society and there were some really useful workshops, discussions and examples of the Big Society in practice which will help us shape Staffordshire’s approach to enabling and encouraging people to play a more active role in their communities.

Royal seal of approval for Denstone Hall Farm Shop

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Denstone farm shopSampled the fine fare on offer at Denstone Hall Farm Shop, which hosted a visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester on Friday July 8. The Queen’s cousin was as impressed as I was at the superb selection of seasonal produce available at this wonderful shop and cafe on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. The stopover at the farm shop took place at the start of a busy day for the Duke, who also visited JCB in Rocester before moving onto the National Memorial Arboretum in Alderwasley, where he unveiled a memorial commemorating the part played by Canadian aircrew in the Second World War.

Getting up to speed

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Received an enquiry about the speed reading course I recently attended and which I mentioned on my blog a couple of weeks ago. That particular course was run buy by the LGIU (Local Government Information Unit) so if you’re interested visit their website for more information. There are many other providers out there too so go online and check them out.

Update from Uttoxeter

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I’ve been spending a bit of time in Uttoxeter recently. I officially opened the new Community Fire Station there on Monday 4 July, which the chief fire officer is rightly proud of. It’s not just a shiny new building with a fresh lick of paint. It’s a complete rebuild with state-of the art training facilities, a dedicated area for student fire fighters, a gym and even a community room that local groups can make use of. All in all it’s a very impressive operation which I’m sure will help foster closer links between the fire fighters and their local community.

Had a meeting with the police the following night to get an update on how they are working with residents to combat crime in Uttoxeter then attended a Health Conference there on Wednesday July 6.