Archive for June, 2016

Britain votes to leave the European Union

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Everyone I’m sure will have been following the EU referendum story over the last few months and now be aware that the county and the country has voted to leave the European Union. the priority will be to ensure this is done as smoothly as possible with minimal disruption to the country, our residents  and the economy.

In Staffordshire, as always, we remain committed to growing a stronger economy where people have access to more opportunities and better jobs and we will continue to focus on delivering this as the plans are put in place to leave the EU.

Driving up people’s skills levels to enable them to take advantage of growing opportunities and further development at our business sites  will remain our focus.  At the same time we will also continue to support the most vulnerable in our communities and ensure that people in Staffordshire have the opportunity to lead happier and healthier lives.

Over the coming months, and indeed the next two years, we will be working closely with the Government to help shape the country and proactively manage the transition phase here in Staffordshire.  Britain is a small island in an increasingly global world, we must not just look inward. The mantra ‘think global, act local’ has never been so apt.

 

Staffordshire, the cycling county

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Cycling seems to be the craze at the moment in Staffordshire. Only last week we welcomed the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain to the county when some of best female cyclists in the world raced through the Staffordshire Moorlands.  And a week before that the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon featured a 56 mile cycling leg across Cannock Chase. Now, on the weekend of the 1st July, it’s the turn of the top male cyclists in the country to take to the stage.

The RideStaffs, formerly the Staffordshire Cycling Festival, returns to the wonderful Shugborough Estate for its sixth year.  Kicking off the festival on Friday evening is the men’s top pro’s racing around a 1.5km circuit. Saturday, it’s a chance for the kids to have a go in the Strider balance bike time trial races. Later that evening, it’s the pros in action again with 120 of the country’s top elite riders taking part in the opening round of the British Cycling Motorpoint Grand Prix Series.

Then Sunday is a chance for all of Staffordshire’s cycling enthusiasts to get involved with a 22-mile and 68- mile sportive open to the general public.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Staffordshire is the perfect county for cycling whether you’re a professional, amateur or a real beginner just looking to enjoy the countryside.  And, remember that maps for all our districts showing both traffic free and quieter routes are available from local libraries or at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/transport and clicking ‘cycling and walking’.

Recognizing Staffordshire’s young apprentices

Monday, June 20th, 2016

I had the great privilege and honour along with many other Staffordshire people of being recognised by Her Majesty in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last week.

I have been a Staffordshire County Councillor since 1987 and Leader since 2009 and have been serving on parish council and other local authority bodies since 1981, for which I was awarded an OBE for services to local government.

When people step forward to help their fellow neighbours, or try and improve life for their community, there’s no thought or expectation of moments like this – it’s a very humbling moment. And, as leader of the county council I would like to congratulate all those who were honoured for giving so much of their time and themselves to make Staffordshire a better place for their fellow residents.

I have spoken many times about how Apprenticeships are important for our young people and to the county and the local economy. They train young people in vital skills and help so many young people get into their first jobs, setting them on a successful career path.

Last year, in Staffordshire, over 8,000 people started an apprenticeship, which is double that of five years ago. Now, we want young people to be very proud of their achievements and that’s why the County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership want to give them their own special day to mark the occasion.

This will be the second Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony we’ve held and will give apprentices the chance to celebrate with their friends and family, thank their training providers and employers and officially graduate from their scheme on stage with full robes and regalia. The event is on Wednesday 13 July at the County Showground in Stafford so if you haven’t got your cap and gown booked then there’s still time. You can register at www.graduationceremony.co.uk.

New Staffordshire history centre announced

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

I’ve often spoken of Staffordshire’s fascinating history and rich heritage that we are all very proud of.  Well, this month, we’ve had some very encouraging news which will help us get even more people interested in the county’s and their own family history while preserving future historical records.

Heritage Lottery have agreed to fund a project which will see a new multi-million pound modern history centre for the county.  Our Archives team have been working closely with our partners and local history groups and to secure the funds so it’s great news that we’ve got to this stage.

The new centre will create a two-storey link between the Staffordshire Record Office and the William Salt Library on Eastgate Street in Stafford.  It will hold records up to 1,000 years old, as well as having a new community exhibition space, modern search rooms and strong rooms to provide storage for an additional 25 years of future collections.

Along the way, we’ll be asking people for their ideas to help make sure the centre gives people what they need.  In the future we will also be taking much more activities out into local schools and communities.  We’ll be firming up plans over the next year and you can follow progress at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives/ourvision

Staying with the Archives Service, a great example of the kinds of historical records we need to preserve have been the focus of an exciting project also funded by Heritage Lottery. During the Great War, conscription forced men all over the country into mandatory military service. This had many objectors, and appeal tribunals were set up to oversee the process and hear the cases of men who refused to go to war.

All such records were ordered to be destroyed after the conflict. But lucky for us, in Staffordshire an oversight meant these records survived. The records offer a fascinating insight into the lives of those affected and are now being exhibited and discussed at a special study day on Saturday 25 June 2016.  It’s an incredible story and you can find out more about the event and book your place at https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives/Events/home.aspx,

Excitement builds in run up to IRONMAN Staffordshire

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Many sporting events run through Staffordshire’s beautiful countryside. But none are more gruelling than the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, which returns to the county for the second time this weekend.
Set across more than 70 miles of our most stunning countryside, over 2,000 athletes will be arriving in the county to take part in the challenge.
The competition gives us a great opportunity to show off what our great county has to offer including the warm welcome and hospitality that awaits visitors.  It will also be a great day for families looking for a unique day out and going by last year’s event will provide a huge boost to the local economy.
All in one day, the triathlon features a 1.2 mile swim in the Chasewater reservoir, a 56 mile cycle, which partly runs through Cannock Chase, and a 13.1 mile run, with the finish line at Shugborough estate.  And don’t forget the Ironkids event on the Saturday, which gives children of all ages the chance to take part in their own mini challenge. It’s much more forgiving than the real event however, with challenges running from 500m to 2km.
This is our second time hosting the event and we are sure the county will come alive on the big day, as much of the course features spectating opportunities.  These will allow people to see the action and soak up the atmosphere as competitors take on this intense athletic endurance challenge.
To help keep everyone safe, some roads will be closed at staggered times on the Sunday so we are asking motorists to plan their journeys in advance.  You can get more details on the triathlon, the spectating hotspots and road closures at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/ironman.
I’m sure people will join me in wishing competitors the best of luck and extending a warm welcome to all our visitors.  I will be out myself to cheer on the contestants and hope to see many people also lining the streets.