Archive for April, 2015

Tourism continues to booms in Staffordshire

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

This month we also had the 10th annual Destination Staffordshire Tourism Conference with more than 100 businesses from across the county getting together at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

Alton Towers Resort, Trentham Estate, Drayton Manor Park and many of our smaller but equally important tourism businesses all got an update on the industry, latest trends and the chance to take part in a range of workshops to help grow their own businesses and the sector as a whole.

The county is in the midst of a tourism boom, now worth £1.1 billion to the local economy and the Destination Staffordshire partnership is helping to grow the sector even further.  Visitor numbers in Staffordshire are going from strength to strength and the conference was a fantastic way to demonstrate its impact on businesses in Staffordshire and how companies can maximise the potential of tourism.

Destination Staffordshire’s Short-Break Packages was also launched at the conference which includes a new website that will allow holidaymakers the chance to create their perfect Staffordshire break all in one convenient place.  Last year we had over 25 million visitors to the county and we now want to encourage more visitors to stay for a short break and explore even more of our great county.

How Casserole Club is helping reduce loneliness amongst older people in Staffordshire

Monday, April 20th, 2015

A Staffordshire community meal sharing project is encouraging people to think about their older neighbours and their loneliness and isolation.

Research shows us more than 50 per cent of those over 80 years of age in the UK are lonely. This same research also suggests that malnutrition amongst older people is increasing, which most of the time is preventable. That is the time for our communities to help.

The Casserole Club helps local people share extra portions of their home cooked meals with other adults, such as older people who may experience difficulty in cooking for themselves and also may feel lonely. It’s a really simple idea but can make such a huge difference. Cooks simply prepare a meal in their own home, popping a portion in a container and dropping it round later that day to an older neighbour they’ve been matched up with.

It’s not just about the food though, as Cooks will also stay and have a chat with their diner.  Over 200 people have already signed up which is very encouraging.  If you enjoy home cooking and want to help an older person in your neighbourhood then why not give it a go.  You can find out more or join at

Calling all artists

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

I have often said that Staffordshire is a talented and creative county and we are keen to make sure we give both our young aspiring and our more well established artists the chance to showcase their artistic talents.

With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce that our annual search for the county’s top artists has been launched. The Staffordshire Open Art Exhibition is one of our most popular shows each year. Now in its 25th year it continues to help to showcase the wealth of creative talent within the county by giving local people the chance to display their work to a wider audience.

The competition is open to people of all ages who were born in Staffordshire or who live, work or study in the county, with selected exhibits going on to be displayed in the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford. Our arts team always look forward to receiving a fabulous range of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, film & animation and much more, so I would encourage people to get their works in.

Artists should submit their entries to the Shire Hall Gallery on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April. The actual exhibition opens to the public on Saturday 16 May and will run until Sunday 5 July 2015. You can find out more at

Also a big congratulations to the 32 young athletes who received funding from our Staffordshire Talented Athletes Fund. This was our busiest year ever with over 100 applications with a variety of sports represented including, figure skating, athletics, cricket, canoe slalom, cycling and many more. I was very impressed with the standards with some young people competing not only in national competitions but also European and World Championship competitions.

We have great sporting talent here in the county which we want to nurture and our grants are helping our young people with the costs of training and competing in their chosen sports.   We have many sports clubs, coaches, volunteers and parents who are all helping young people achieve their sporting dreams which is great news.

The grants available were £1000 (gold), £500 (silver) and £300 (Bronze). You can read more about the winners at I wish all our young athletes the best of luck in their upcoming competitions.