Archive for June, 2012

Meeting and greeting

Monday, June 25th, 2012

It was great to catch up with people I know at the County Show and meet the main sponsors from South Staffordshire College and their new Rural Enterprise Academy which opens in September.

Geoff Martin and John Rowley asked me to perform the difficult task of judging the floats for the Rugeley Horse Fair with Aidan Burley, and what I witnessed was truly great community spirit. There was lots of enthusiasm despite the cold weather and well done to Rugeley Youth Centre for winning the walking float!

The following Sunday I listened to an interesting sermon asking us to cherish politicians at our new Chairman’s Civic Service, before going home to help with sheep shearing. As the sermon said we local politicians do all manner of things in our day jobs!

I’ve also been down to London again, this time for an LGA Executive and Forum meeting, travelling by West Coast Main Line high speed train. Future Local Government finance and youth engagement were both on the agenda. Clive Betts MP and Graham Allen MP Chairmen of Parliament Select Committees gave us talks on their work and their thoughts on the future local government role.

The next day I opened the Rural Strategy Stakeholder Conference at Rodbaston, with over 50 delegates coming together to agree a coordinated rural approach for Staffordshire earlier this week.

Staffordshire rolled out the barrel to welcome home narrow boat President, after her 336 mile trip down to London to represent the county in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Andrew Slater from Slaters Ales local brewery presented President’s crew with a barrel of their finest ale. It’s been a long journey since she first set out from the Black CountryLiving Museum in February, so the crew really does deserve a welcome home drink.

On Tuesday I was with over 100 delegates at the 8th Staffordshire Procurement Conference, hearing all about the work that’s been done, the county council’s partnership with Capita and the future plans for even more value for money from our public services in Staffordshire.

And the latest annual report to Cabinet shows people are living in a more prosperous county with even greater value for money services in the current economic climate. Staffordshire is weathering the current storms well but there is still more to do.

A time of celebrations

Friday, June 8th, 2012

It was great to see that everyone was determined to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee across Staffordshire despite the poor weather on Sunday.

We worked closely with our borough and district colleagues to make sure everyone who wanted to organise a street party did so with the greatest ease, we had applications for over 80 street parties across the county, which is tremendous, I hope everyone involved had a suitably ceremonious day.

It was fantastic to see Staffordshire represented at the River Thames Jubilee Pageant on Sunday with the President narrow boat flying the county flag, I even spotted the President going under Tower Bridge on BBC1.

Principal sponsors of President’s journey along with Michelin, Waterford Wedgwood and St. Modwen, JCB were flying their own Union and Staffordshire Flags at the JCB Academy, after both flags were presented to the majority of Staffordshire schools by the Lord Lieutenant and me to celebrate Diamond Jubilee.

The celebrations came just days after the wonderful Olympic Torch Relay through Stafford Borough which saw our highways team collaborate with the borough council to make it a first rate event. Now we’re looking forward to seeing the torch return to Staffordshire on Saturday June 30, where thousands more people will line the streets and enjoy another momentous occasion.

It was great to see over 100 people turn up to take part in the lighting of the Diamond Jubilee Beacon in my own village of Rocester, and for all of you royal family fans, Shugborough are hosting a captivating selection of photographs of HRH the Queen taken by Patrick Lichfield. It really is worth a look.

It has also been a brilliant two days at the annual County Show despite the inclement June weather, when I bumped into Andrew Griffiths MP for Burton, John Mercer NFU Regional Director and Graham Morley, Principal of South Staffordshire College who were main sponsors of the Show and showcasing the new Rural Enterprise Academy at Rodbaston, opening in September.

This Week is also National Volunteering Week, it plays a huge part in raising the profile of volunteers who regularly contribute to their local communities, while inspiring others to get involved. So if you are a regular committed volunteer for your county or in your local community, this week is time to say thank you and well done. And if you want to get involved, this is the perfect time to find out about volunteering in your area. www.do-it.org.uk/ is a good way to start your search.