The Launch of Discovering the Staffordshire Hoard Exhibition

You will recall back in 2009 metal detectorist Terry Herbert uncovering the amazing Staffordshire Hoard in Fred Johnson’s Hammerwich field putting Staffordshire on the global stage.

In the original find, more than 3,500 objects and fragments of Anglo-Saxon treasure was discovered, a collection that was met with international wonder. In late 2012, the Hoard field was ploughed again and a further 81 items were uncovered.

To celebrate the finds we have launched a new touring exhibition to help more people discover the history behind the find. “Treasure – Discovering the Staffordshire Hoard” will be visiting community venues across the county to tell the story of the find and to bring our heritage to life.

Many hundreds of thousands of people have managed to see the Staffordshire Hoard and this touring exhibition will give even more people the chance to experience the historic and wonderful discovery. This is our heritage and we are extremely proud of our past.  I am sure you will agree it is also fantastic that the Hoard has returned to the county from which it came, allowing local people to reconnect with our shared past and common culture. If you are interested in finding our more please visit:  www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk

Supporting the Armed Forces:

Last year saw the launch of the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme, an initiative that gives Staffordshire organisations the capacity to better support our local armed forces and the opportunity to involve the local community with our service families.

Organisations can apply for funding to be put towards developing ways to bring our civilian and armed forces communities together, and the deadline for the next wave of bids is this December.

I am delighted to see that three Staffordshire organisations have already benefited from the fund and I look forward to the work they will be doing in their local communities.  Most organisations are eligible and I would encourage them to make an application to help our local communities thrive.  There are more details on our website at www.staffordshire.gov.uk ’s more details

High Speed Rail 2:

We have tried to make sure the voice of many residents in Staffordshire who have voiced their concerns against the proposed high speed railway line HS2 and the damage it may cause to our communities and countryside is heard.

The Council is appealing for an estimated extra £170m bill to be paid by HS2 ltd and not by taxpayers. The proposal has been made as part of the Mitigation and Enhancement Plan which also sets out what the county expects from HS2 should it go ahead. This will be debated at our Cabinet meeting next week.

As a county council we are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of this national transport scheme on our county, should it go ahead.

We still believe that HS2 will not benefit the County and as it is a £40 billion scheme our calls for  £170 million needs to be spent at the very least on measures to mitigate the impact of creating a high speed network in Staffordshire. This is just the impact of Phase One and as a county council we will continue to champion the cause of local communities and help ensure those affected by both phases also get meaningful and timely compensation.

Farming – a local success, a national problem:

A recent report from the National Farmers Union claims that if all the food produced in the UK in a year were stored and eaten from January 1, the ”cupboard” would be bare today (August 14th).

Nearly 90% of the UK is rural, home to a quarter of our population and over a quarter of our businesses. As both a consumer and producer of food, I am extremely concerned by the news that Britain now produces less than two-thirds (62 per cent) of the food that we eat compared to 75 per cent in 1991.

A largely rural county, Staffordshire County Council recognises the contribution that farming makes to our economy. As a result, we took the decision to invest in our County Farms at a time when many other local authorities sold up their land to generate an income.

Nationally the average age of a farmer is 58 years old and is rising each year, something that could lead to skills shortages in the future. Staffordshire County Farms currently has 22 tenants between the ages of 24 and 40. We are also working with the skills sector such as the Rural Enterprise Academy in Rodbaston to help plug the skills gap.

As well as encouraging youngsters into farming, we endeavour to help local farms prosper. The county council has a contract with Wells Farm Dairy, which sources milk from our county farms to supply milk to nearly 400 schools across Staffordshire as well as County Buildings and Staffordshire Place. This is complemented by our work with Entrust which is using local county farmers to supply meat, vegetables and milk to schools.

It’s in everyone’s interest that we recognise the role the countryside has always played in feeding our population. We therefore back the NFU’s calls for Government to help create an environment where farming businesses can prosper, thus contributing to the rural economy and feeding our families for many generations to come.

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