Archive for October, 2017

Looking forward to further business expansion and more jobs for the county

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Further business expansion announcements made this month were welcome news and will help strengthen the county’s position as a place of opportunity.  Jaguar Land Rover is planning to build a £40million storage facility for 6,500 vehicles mainly for export in Stone which would create around 75 jobs.  Stafford-based Perkins, which produces diesel and gas engines for global export, has also submitted its plans for site expansion in the town.  Meanwhile GE’s relocation to the county council-developed Redhill Business Park in Stafford should be completed by next month. In South Staffordshire, automotive supplier Gestamp has started initial operations at the Bericote Four Ashes site early as the county council completes road junction improvements and access to the site.

These are all important developments showing real strength and resilience in our economy as we continue to support the creation of better paid, higher skilled jobs in Staffordshire.  And, with the latest Jobseeker claimant figures at just one per cent of the local population, we’re lower than both the regional (2.4 per cent) and national (1.9 per cent) averages.

On Friday, I also attended and spoke at the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership AGM where we looked back at our achievements and our ambitions for the future. Delivering growth and raising our national and international profile and how we were going to achieve this was the focus of my speech. We were also honoured to have Sir John Peace there, chairman of the Midlands Engine who spoke about the region’s wider role in growing the UK economy.

Hearing direct from some of our local companies, what it’s like doing business in Staffordshire and their challenges and opportunities  was also refreshing. Ian Middleton, UK chairman of Gestamp spoke about their exciting plans to invest in a new purpose-built 555,000 sq ft facility in South Staffordshire.

Finally, Sarah Montgomery, chair of Destination Staffordshire and managing director at the National Memorial Arboretum gave an interesting overview of the tourism and leisure economy, it’s considerable contribution to the overall economy and the partnership’s plans to grow this even more.

National Adoption Week

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

This week it’s National Adoption Week and with almost seven out of 10 children waiting for adoptive families from sibling groups, there’s a real need to help find them loving homes.

We know from experience that in most cases keeping brothers and sisters together is in their best interests rather than the experience of further stress caused by being separated from each other.

In this latest campaign, we are  now asking people to #supportadoption and we are particularly looking for adoptive families who would be willing to adopt sibling groups.  We have sibling groups of two, three and more children looking for a forever family home together, so if you’re thinking of starting, extending  or completing a family then maybe adoption is for you.  And, while siblings remains the focus of our campaign, we are also  looking  for  potential families for children of all ages, those with  additional needs and children with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Our Adoption Service offers an excellent package of support and training and I would encourage people to get along to one of our campaign roadshows or information events to find out more. If people can’t make any of the events  they can also visit or call 0800 169 2061.


And now to something close to all our hearts, good food and drink

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

This Friday some of the best food & drink businesses from across the county will go head-to-head at the Taste of Staffordshire GOOD FOOD AWARDS. Forty of the best restaurants, pubs, tea rooms and other food & drink businesses from across the county are all in the running for awards at the ceremony being held at Lichfield Cathedral.

We are incredibly lucky here in Staffordshire  to have such a wide range of really wonderful, high quality  food and drink businesses and our awards are a great way of celebrating this.

These are all independently run establishments going above and beyond to deliver the highest quality of locally produced food and drink and the best possible service for their customers.  The awards are a great opportunity to give them the recognition they deserve for their hard work and determination to be the best in the business.

Any Staffordshire food & drink business with a minimum four-star Food Hygiene Rating (Rate My Place or equivalent) can apply for the Taste of Staffordshire Quality Marque.  Businesses can find out more by clicking this link.

And, good luck to everyone shortlisted for an award.

Unlocking the power of the crowd

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Supporting communities to be at the heart of local initiatives is the future of local government, and the way that we’ll continue to improve the lives of people in Staffordshire.

From our network of community managed libraries, providing tailored local services, to changes to local children’s support which is already improving early education, the power of social action is clear to see.

We also know that there are hundreds of groups out there with great practical ideas to help their community, but need support to get them off the ground.  That’s why we’re really pleased to be launching our Crowdfund Staffordshire project. Anyone can use it to raise funds for projects that benefit the local community.  And, advice is also available for groups to make sure their fundraising campaign is a success.  It’s an easy way for groups to showcase their projects to the thousands of people who regularly donate to good causes online.  We’ve already spoken to some of our partners and you can listen to their thoughts in this short video.

We are also setting aside £50,000 for projects that help to support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and families.   Projects could be eligible for up to £5,000 from the fund if the community also support it.

We want Staffordshire to be a great place to live, with strong and resilient communities that work for everyone, and this is just one of the ways that we’re helping community’s to take the lead locally.

You can get crowdfunding today at