It’s been a busy couple of weeks…

Two key items from the May Cabinet Meeting and full council meeting were that we are pledging to hand over more decision making power to residents to help them shape their local communities and make them better places to live, ‘unlocking local capacity’ has worked so well with Your Staffordshire Card, Staffordshire Cares, and the dimming of street lights, getting the people of Staffordshire involved on making decisions that will affect them. Another outcome of the meeting was our plans to make sure people in genuine need receive the right benefits and financial support, we proposed to improve the quality of our service through a ‘one stop shop’ style approach to benefits, financial assessments and welfare advice.

Earlier this week I visited Chestnut Grange extra care in Burton and met many contended residents and saw the fantastic facilities provided. Chestnut Grange is another great example of our social services, with health and housing working together to deliver a brilliant result.

It’s been a week full of VIP visits, with Vice Lord Lieutenant Colonel Michael Beatty and I presenting a Union Flag and a Staffordshire County flag to all schools in Staffordshire to celebrate and commemorate the Jubilee. And our very own VIP Sir James Hawley, former Lord Lieutenant, has been made a Freeman of the County of Staffordshire.

I met with Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk, at Staffordshire Place to talk about our Staffordshire economy with fellow LEP board. The government minister is backing Staffordshire as a great place to do business. The minister was invited by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to celebrate the areas successes and how it is forging ahead of the pack with regional economic regeneration.

Staffordshire firms go from strength to strength, with Alstom celebrating 50 years of high voltage direct current work in Stafford with a £200M order from Sweden. Over 2,000 people work in Stafford on HVDC. And there has been more great news with BRIC countries fuelling our counties growth as our very own Staffordshire firm JCB wins a massive £60m roads contract from Brazil.

And on a more cultural note, I went to see the Staffordshire Saxon in the Potteries Museum with sculptor Andy Edwards, it’s a fantastic piece and well worth a visit to see him.

A Falklands War memorial has been unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember the brave troops and I was there when the Prime Minister paid his respects to the Falklands fallen a few days later and was able to tell him about the plans to invest in the site.  We were there a couple of weeks ago for signing of our Armed Forces Community Covenant tying in with the council being shortlisted for our innovation in work with families in frontline services

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