Archive for January, 2018

Have you thought of choosing a career in care and making a positive difference to someone’s life every day

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

One of the biggest challenges facing us all is the fact that we are living longer and this in turn can put extra pressures on everyone.

While an aging population is good news and to be welcomed, it does call for additional resources and comes with an increased need for more people to care for those living into later life.

I have blogged about this before but this year we will be spending a record £310m on care and funding millions of hours of care to support people with day-to-day personal tasks.  There are thousands of people already working in the care sector in Staffordshire, many helping people live independently for as long as possible in their homes. While the number of people working in the sector has been on the increase for many years too, we do need more people to choose a career path involving care. This is why we’re working with some of our biggest providers of care services to encourage people to do just that.

Carers do a fantastic job – they make people’s lives better, and help them live well in the home they love. Working in care is also really flexible, meaning it can fit around other commitments in people’s lives.  Nowadays, there are more career prospects too and with lots of training and development opportunities, there’s  a good chance to climb the career ladder too to potentially become a nurse and beyond. Lots of people working in care also tell us that it’s a really rewarding thing to do.

If this has sparked a bit of an interest or you know someone who might be interested in considering a career in care then you can find out more on


Highlighting the difference fostering can make

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Former foster child Jess Rees

Finding loving homes for our children in care is something that is close to my heart and I hope yours, and remains a priority for the county council.  Before Christmas we launched a new campaign to get more families to consider fostering and while we helped raise awareness of the issue there is still more work to be done.

We all know that foster care is the best option for most young people in care but to do this, we do need more foster families to come forward.  We have around 1,000 children in our care and need to recruit around 60 more families this year alone.  To help us, we have enrolled the help of two of our former foster children, Jess Rees and Marvin Campbell who are both doing very well in life and happy to share their positive experiences that fostering made to their lives.  Jess is now 19 and studying law at university and Marvin is a self-employed business consultant.  You can listen to their stories here.

All sorts of people from all walks of life can and do foster so if it’s something you might consider or you know someone who would make a good foster carer then please get in touch.  There’s more at or by calling 0800 169 2061.

People can also attend one of the following informal information meetings with a chance to meet real foster carers:

  • Thursday 18 January,7pm, Burton Town Hall, Burton
  • Wednesday 31 January, 7pm, Staffordshire Place 1, Tipping Street Stafford
  • Tuesday 6 February, 7pm, Holiday Inn, Junction 15, Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

I hope you take the time to give this some thought, and help a child in need of a loving home.

Remembering those who lost their lives at the Minnie Pit Disaster 100 years on

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

On Friday we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Minnie Pit mining disaster at Halmerend in Newcastle. This was a tragic event that devastated not only the village but touched the hearts of the whole area.

In total 156 men and boys from the Audley Parish were killed in an explosion at the mine on Saturday 12th January 1918, just 10 months before the end of the Great War. Twenty one boys were only fourteen years old and it took 18 months to retrieve all the bodies. Ninety eight people were buried at St James Church in Audley; 46 at St John’s Church, Alsagers Bank and 12 elsewhere. On some days there were as many as 5 funerals. The event was marked by a Memorial Service in Audley Churchyard on Sunday August 31st 1919 which was attended by over 3,000 people.

For those interested in finding out more about the event, The Audley & District Family History Society have published a new book about those killed, titled “Victims Of The Minnie Pit Explosion 1918” with photos and family records. The book will be launched at the Centennial Commemoration Event on Saturday January 13th 2018 at the Methodist Chapel, Halmer End in Newcastle.

You can watch a short tribute here with photos from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives Service, Brampton Museum and the Museum of Cannock Chase.

Future plans building on past successes

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Look around Staffordshire today and you’ll see new business premises and enterprise parks occupied by global companies, inventors, entrepreneurs and local creative companies. This is all part of our plan to grow our economy and create opportunities for people to fulfil their aspirations of a better life by generating more better paid jobs.

The importance of a strong and growing economy cannot be underestimated.  Ensuring people are in work and have money in their pocket to lead the lives they want remains the most important thing we can do to improve family incomes and reduce demand on public services.  We will do this by creating the right conditions for businesses to grow and thrive.

2017 saw yet another successful year with not only the further development of new business sites like i54 South Staffordshire, and Redhill Business Park,  but vital improvements to infrastructure like roads and superfast broadband now available at 95% of premises.  Our economy is in good shape.  Business Parks in Staffordshire are now home to leading international businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, Gestamp and General Electric who inject millions into the local supply chain. But smaller local companies, which account for 96% of all businesses,   also play their part too, reinforcing their role in the local economy.

Since 2014, economy boosting projects with a total value of £383million have been completed, are under construction or being planned.  This should result in the creation of some 13,000 jobs for local people.  In line with this, we’ve also seen near full employment over the same period, with just one per cent of the local population claiming unemployment benefits. This is lower than both regional and national averages.  A high number of our schools are rated as good and last year our skills programme created more than 5,000 apprentices and supported three new Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Skills Hubs.  Teams also started visiting schools and talking to pupils  to raise aspirations about the higher skilled  jobs of the future.

With even more exciting projects like the Smart Innovation Hub at Keele University Science and Innovation Park coming online soon, and the completion of the A50 Project A improvements in Uttoxeter at the end of 2018, we are looking forward to building on these successes.

We’re opening doors for business to grow. We’re attracting  new investment to the county and we are making Staffordshire right for business to improve the lives of everyone living here.

I’d like to wish everyone a Happy and healthy 2018.