Archive for February, 2015

Longford community centre

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Only last month I spoke about the opening of the new Limewood Dementia Centre in Northfield Village at the heart of Stafford, but I’m pleased to report on the arrival of yet another major development that has opened in Cannock.

Secretary of State for Transport and former County Councillor for Cannock Patrick McLoughlin MP joined me in opening the new £12 million Longford development which will allow older people to maintain their independence and at the same time offering services to the wider community.

The development on the old Langbourn site combines Chasewood extra care housing, Woodland View respite care for people with learning disabilities and the Longford Centre community facilities .  I keep repeating that allowing people to remain independent as they get older is extremely important and that is why we are planning ahead with our partners to provide even more flexi care across Staffordshire. By investing in facilities such as Chasewood, we can ensure we support the needs of our local people both now and in the future.

More good news to for our local businesses looking to expand as The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership has launched its seventh round of the Growing Place Fund.  With £2.5 million now available to support infrastructure projects which will expand the local economy, we are looking for businesses to come forward.

Seventeen companies have already been successful with applications including Dunston Business Village, close to Junction 13 on the M6. The business park is completely occupied with a long waiting list and has attracted companies from all over the UK creating more jobs in the county.  Applications will be accepted until 24 April 2015 so I would encourage businesses looking to expand to have a look at it.

We all want the best education for our young people and it was good to hear about some extra funding being made available to help refurbish four of our schools.  The successful schools were Dosthill Primary School in Tamworth, Castlechurch Primary School in Stafford, St John the Evangelist Catholic Academy in Kidsgrove and Walton High School in Stafford.   They will see upwards of £1.25million invested in improving their facilities.

Supporting local business

Friday, February 6th, 2015

I’m glad to see that our Business Loan Fund in partnership with BCRS (Black Country Reinvestment Society ) is continuing to help many of our local companies. Since 2009 we have supported well over one hundred Staffordshire companies which has helped to safeguard and create many more jobs.

Healthcare Licensing Support is one company who have benefited from the scheme to help develop and expand their business. The Cannock based company provides appraisal, and revalidation services within the health sector and GP’s. Thanks to the support from the fund the company is now looking to further growth and to help the local economy through potential employment opportunities.

The fund supports Staffordshire based businesses that are unable to obtain finance from mainstream lenders. It is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and loans of £10,000 to £50,000 are made available to viable businesses. Businesses can find out more by visiting or by calling 0845 3138410.

I’m sure most people will agree with me that the Shugborough Estate is a wonderful attraction with stunning grounds that gives visitors a great day out. Not so well known though is the important work going on down there behind the scene on the farm to preserve some very rare breeds of sheep and goats.

Last year the Estate was recognised for its work in protecting some of the world’s rarest breeds of livestock while building on the County’s farming economy. This spring the Estate is expecting its biggest baby boom of rare breeds ever and for the first time people are being given the chance to come along and see the new arrivals being born.

Lambing will take place in The Granary, where visitors can keep warm and sit on hay bales in front of an arched pen area; and The Stackyard, outside. A series of other activities – including bedtime bottle feeding and a rare breed’s talk – will also be lined-up, to fill the gaps in between lambs are being born. The stars of the nights will include some of the rare breed sheep including the Southdown, Soay and Boreray sheep. You can find out more at

To the world of sport now! I was pleased to hear about another top sporting event making it’s way to the county. UEFA announced that they will be holding their under 17s Football Championship finals in St. George’s Park in 2018. This is exciting news and proves again that the county is fast becoming a location for top national and international sporting events.

St. George’s Park has already hosted a number of high-profile events since it opened and this summer will also be hosting the World Championship for Cerebral Palsy which will see teams from across the globe battle it out.

This year we have a packed calendar of international sporting events including Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 and The UK Corporate Games both in June. I’m confident that our network of clubs and volunteers will all use this opportunity to inspire a new generation of sportsmen and women.