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health watch Staffordshire

RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on the future of a health watchdog.

Healthwatch Staffordshire is being recommissioned from April next year and the County Council, which commissions the service, is looking at ways in which it could be delivered in future.

It’s keen to ensure Healthwatch meets the needs of local people and influences the delivery of health and social care services.

The Council has launched a public survey and will take all feedback into account before making its decision.

Wendy Tompson, Corporate Community Engagement and Consultation Manager at the County Council, said: “We are recommissioning the local Healthwatch service with effect from April 1, 2018.

“To support this we are exploring ideas for how Healthwatch Staffordshire could be delivered in future to ensure it meets the needs of local people and influences the future of health and care services.

“Healthwatch is an independent consumer champion for people who use health and social care services. Its job is to ensure that local voices are heard and that people’s views and experiences are used to improve existing services and help shape future delivery.

“It’s therefore really important that members of the public have a say about the future of this service.

“We’ve developed a questionnaire to capture opinion and want as many people as possible to let us know what they think.”

The closing date for all completed surveys will be Sunday, August 20.

Visit http://bit.ly/2taBnbo

space logo

STAFFORDSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis is bringing back the popular Space programme for Summer 2017.

From Monday 24 July, youngsters across Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent can enjoy a range of free or subsidised activities this summer thanks to continued support from the PCC for the Space youth events programme.

Mr Ellis has pledged money to fund activities with an aim to increase skills, improve health and general wellbeing by creating opportunities to engage with young people positively.

Space was originally an activities scheme led by police in Staffordshire during the 80’s and 90’s to provide fun activities for young people during the school summer holiday with the aim to improve engagement with young people. The new version of Space, coordinated by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, has similar objectives and is aimed at 11 and 17 year-olds. The activities are delivered by a partnership of public and voluntary organisations, including the Police.

The programme is now in its third year since its relaunch by PCC Matthew Ellis who has been delighted by the response;

‘Space is all about giving young people confidence whilst having fun and improving their skills and fitness plus the opportunity to engage with public and voluntary sector organisations. Since the relaunch in 2015 we’ve had very positive feedback from young people and I’d encourage anyone between 11 and 17 to get involved.’

Events across Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent include glow-in-the-dark sports, trampolining, design your own t-shirt, Summer parties and even a walk up Snowdon for the more adventurous.

Full details of the Space programme can be found on the web site at www.staffordshirespace.uk

Bus shelter art

A TAMWORTH bus shelter has been given a wild makeover as part of this year’s Arts in Unusual Spaces programme and in partnership with the Tamworth in Bloom campaign.

Local artist Simon Wingfield has transformed the bus shelter on Peelers Way, Kettlebrook, with striking images of a kingfisher, a great spotted woodpecker and a barn owl – all birds which can be seen at the adjacent Tameside Local Nature Reserve.

Simon could be seen in action throughout the day on Sunday, July 16, when the new look shelter took shape. As the bus stop is on the route the Heart of England in Bloom judges took through the town on Tuesday, July 18, it was chosen as the first to be given an artistic makeover to launch a major new project coming to the town this autumn.

‘Catch Art’, part of the two-year Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, will bring art to a number of bus shelters across the borough. The project is being led by Vic Brown, of Art Recruitment Tamworth, who also organises the popular Urban Arts Festival which takes place every year at the Castle Grounds’ skate park.

Vic will now spend the next few months working with local artists and school children to come up with designs for at least a further five bus shelters in areas including Amington, Glascote Heath, Stonydelph and Coton Green.

The artwork being created.

The artwork being created.

Some will be designed by professional artists, such as Simon Wingfield, who painted the local landmarks depicted on underpasses at Riverdrive, and some will be designed by the town’s youngsters.

Catch Art is just one of a number of fantastic projects being delivered by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team, thanks to lottery funding from Arts Council England, to bring art to new and unusual spaces during the refurbishment of Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedCllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “The idea behind Catch Art is to bring art to all areas of the town. We also wanted to involve the local community by inviting artists and school children to come up with colourful designs which will then be displayed on the bus shelters for all to see.

“The project has been made possible thanks to additional funding secured by the Arts & Events team from Arts Council England, which likes to support projects that encourage community participation in the arts.

“It made sense to launch the project with a bus shelter on the Tamworth in Bloom judging route and we hope this will help us in our quest to win gold for the eighth year in a row.

“I think the Wild About Tamworth bus shelter looks amazing, it brings some real colour to the street scene and shows people some of the amazing birds that can be found at the nearby Tameside Local Nature Reserve. I’m now looking forward to seeing what the rest of the project has in store later in the year.”

The artists with their completed artwork

MP Christopher Pincher and Cllr John Chesworth and his wife Tereasa, the Mayor and Mayoress of Tamworth.

TO celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, the Friends of Tamworth Castle held a special balloon race last Saturday.

The event took place on the top of Tamworth Castle where the balloons were released and was attended by many from the local area including local MP Christopher Pincher and Cllr John Chesworth and his wife Tereasa, the Mayor and Mayoress of Tamworth.

Visitors in the Castle Grounds waived and cheered as the balloons rose into the sky. The Friends will allow three weeks for the return of the balloon tags after which, we will award a prize of £100 to the person who bought the balloon that travelled furthest.

Christopher Pincher MP said: “I very much enjoyed releasing the balloons on what were rather tricky conditions! Although I am always happy to help the Friends of Tamworth Castle in whatever the weather. Now we wait with baited breath to see which balloon travelled the furthest!”

David Ansell, Chairman of the Friends, said: “The ‘Friends’ would like to thank Chris for his help and support on Saturday, his enthusiasm for releasing the balloons should be commended particularly as we had a degree of difficulty getting them up the tower to where he was waiting because of the swirling wind in the castle courtyard and around the tower.

“The steady stream of balloons rising from the tower made for quite a spectacular sight as they gained height quickly and set off in an easterly direction.”

MP Christopher Pincher and Cllr John Chesworth and his wife Tereasa, the Mayor and Mayoress of Tamworth.

MP Christopher Pincher and Cllr John Chesworth and his wife Tereasa, the Mayor and Mayoress of Tamworth.

bandstand concert

TWO favourite Tamworth groups will be performing some classic and vintage music from the Castle Grounds Bandstand as part of the Music Outside summer programme of free concerts.

On Saturday July 22, people are invited to enjoy an afternoon in the park listening to the sounds of brass band music at its best. Amington Band has performed at the Castle Grounds regularly since 1917, entertaining Tamworth audiences for 100 years with their mixture of popular and classical band music.

They will take to the bandstand at regular intervals between 12pm and 3pm.

Speaking on behalf of Amington Band Committee, Steph Morris, said: “We’re so proud to have reached our 100th anniversary.  It’s a really special time for us as current players but also for those who have played with us in the past – to see something you love get so far and continue to strive is just amazing.

“Our centenary concert went down so well last week and brought together so many old friends of the band.  Our centenary celebrations continue at Tamworth Bandstand this weekend where we hope to see many more friendly faces, both old friends and new.”

Amington Band will be followed by Tamworth vintage vocal group The Jays Vintage and Andy B Goode who will be taking audiences back to the golden era of the 1940s and ‘50s with the catching harmonies on Sunday July 23.

The Jays Vintage and Andy B Goode are a three piece Midland group that entertain and excite audiences with their vintage vocals. They recently performed at the National Memorial Arboretum for a vintage day and tea dance and were joined by professional lindy hop dancers ‘Red and Ginger’ who led the dancing in Hero’s square.

They will be performing between 12pm and 4pm. Songs will include hits made famous by the likes of the Andrew Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry and Cliff Richard.

The packed programme of summer concerts from the Bandstand continues through to September 2. Organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team, the entertainment will provide the perfect setting to an enjoyable summer afternoon for all tastes.

The remaining 2017 line-up is as follows:

  • Saturday July 22 – Amington Band
  • Sunday July 23 – The Jays Vintage & Andy B Goode
  • Saturday July 29 – Tamworth Voices
  • Sunday July 30 – Claret
  • Saturday August 12 – 58 Blues Band
  • Saturday August 19 – Brindley-Hunt
  • Sunday August 20 – Liquid Brass
  • Saturday September 2 – Mr Wilson’s Second Liners

Sponsored by Ankerside Shopping Centre, all the concerts are free of charge, so bring your picnic baskets and blankets down to Tamworth Castle Grounds for an afternoon of music. Performances take place at intervals between 12pm and 4pm (subject to weather conditions).

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedCllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “Amington Band is a firm favourite at the bandstand. The 100-year anniversary of the band will make their performance even more special this year.

“The Jays Vintage and Andy B Goode have become popular with the residents of Tamworth and always put on a toe tapping performance.

“The Bandstand Concerts are continuing throughout the summer with a range of performances to suit all tastes and we hope to see lots of people taking up the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of live entertainment in the park.”

For more information please visit http://www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/outdoor-events.

North Warwickshire Borough Council Crest

ATHERSTONE is to have its own garden to remember the hatting industry and young people are needed to design it.

North Warwickshire Borough Council is working in partnership with Friends of Atherstone Heritage and local young people to redesign an area of grass on Meadow Street, Atherstone.

The Friends of Atherstone Heritage are submitting a bid for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the Meadow Street Gardens into an ‘Outdoor Museum’ which will be a memorial to the hatting history of the town.

Once the garden is complete, it can be enjoyed by the community and it will also illustrate the heritage of the town.

Lorna Dirveiks from the ‘Friends of’ Group said:  “This will be a great project for the town and will honour a vital piece of Atherstone’s heritage. The garden will allow people to remember and tell an important story to those who are too young to recall and to tourists who are unaware of the industry for which Atherstone was famous.”

To plan and design the gardens, the Borough Council is looking for a small group of young people from the streets near to the gardens to help design the new Hatters Memorial Garden.

Anyone interested in joining in with this project must be aged 11-13 years and willing to attend two sessions at The Council House on the 23rd and 24th August, 10am – 4pm.

They will then need to meet up, as a group, at least once a month while the project is running – these dates will be agreed by the group. Spaces are limited and will be given on a first come, first served basis.

To get involved in this exciting project, please get in touch with the Community Development Team on 01827 719 306 or email communitydevelopment@northwarks.gov.uk

dementia friendly town

A STAGGERING two million people across the UK have united against dementia by becoming ‘Dementia Friends’ – and Tamworth is now going all out to reach its own target of 3,000.

The milestone UK-wide achievement was recently revealed by the Alzheimer’s Society, which set up the concept of Dementia Friends in 2013 to transform the way people think, act and talk about the condition.

At the last count, there were 2,772 official Dementia Friends listed in Tamworth, which includes people of all ages, even children, and from all walks of life. While their number has risen significantly since the town was granted Dementia Friendly Community status in May this year, the goal is now to reach the 3,000 mark.

Anyone can become a Dementia Friend by watching a short online video or attending an information session. Training takes less than an hour and in that time people learn a bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia. They then turn that understanding into action, whether that’s simply spreading awareness further, fundraising or visiting someone with dementia.

Much of the training in Tamworth has been delivered by the area’s 10 Dementia Friends Champions, who have hosted 85 information sessions to date at Tamworth Borough Council, businesses, community groups and schools across the area.

As a Dementia Friendly Community, Tamworth is going all out to become a town focused on ensuring people with dementia and their carers feel safe, supported and involved in all aspects of community life and Dementia Friends are a key part of that.

Activities are led locally by the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance (TDAA) – a partnership of stakeholders working together to improve the lives of local people with dementia. The TDAA now has 18 member organisations including Tamworth Borough Council, the police, fire service, health care services and providers, community groups and businesses.

The TDAA continues to recruit new members, including businesses, GPs, banks and retailers, and train more people to become Dementia Friends.

Cllr Andrew James, Tamworth Borough Council’s Lead Member for dementia, said: “We want Tamworth to become a place where people with dementia feel supported and included and where they can access services that help make their lives that little bit easier. “Dementia Friends are a key part of that. The more people there are around the town who understand the issues and challenges faced by those living with dementia, the better. The UK wide two million milestone is fantastic news and in Tamworth we are striving to reach our own next target of 3,000, and hopefully beyond.

“The training doesn’t take long and it’s well worth doing. We would encourage businesses, retailers, customer service assistants, schools, community groups and just anyone who has an elderly relative to take part and help extend our community of Dementia Friends.”

Becoming a Dementia Friend takes less than an hour and can be done online at https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ or by contacting Tamworth Borough Council’s Lead Officer for Dementia Friendly Communities, Karen Clancy, on 01827 709565.

Becoming a Dementia Friends Champion involves a day of training. Champions are then able to deliver Dementia Friends awareness sessions in the community.

More information is available on the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance website.        

Ankerside store frontage

STAY & PLAY will be returning to Ankerside Shopping Centre next Thursday for a fantastic morning of free friendship-themed fun and games.

Michelle Gardner and her niece Elle Bird, 1, decorating her play journal at the launch of Stay and Play in April.

Michelle Gardner and her niece Elle Bird, 1, decorating her play journal at the launch of Stay and Play in April.

With World Friendship Day just around the corner, Stay & Play will return on Thursday, 27 July, where little ones will have the chance to make friendship bracelets and decorate cut outs of their best friend.

Alongside all the friendship fun, children along with mums, dads and grandparents will also be able to enjoy inflatables, a bubble machine and a visit from Ankerside’s colourful monster between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said he is looking forward to celebrating World Friendship Day at the centre’s monthly Stay & Play. “The response to the launch of Stay & Play in April has been brilliant and we can’t wait to welcome it back next week,” he said.

“Throughout the morning, little ones will have the chance to get crafty with friendship bracelets and best friend cut outs. Plus, some of our regular guests will be heading off to primary school at the end of summer, so we will be hosting a mini graduation ceremony for them.

“Thursday is also a chance for children to fill in their learning books that they bring along to each event and it’s a great little memento for parents, especially for those who are going off to school in September.

“We hope everyone has a lovely time at our Stay & Play morning next week and we can’t wait to see the children creating bracelets for their best friends.”

The Stay & Play fun takes place from 9.30am to 11.30am in Druckers Café on the last Thursday of each month and is free for anyone looking after children to attend with the little ones.

cash sterling notes and coins

VOLUNTARY groups and organisations across Tamworth have received a cash boost of more than £3,800 from Tamworth Borough Council.

Eight groups have each been awarded grants of between £345 and £500 from the Voluntary and Community Grants scheme and the Arts Grant awards.

The grants are given to help organisations develop and provide services for the residents of Tamworth.

The latest grants are:

  • £500 for the Aztec Network, which is part of the scouting group and is working with the trustees of Middleton Hall on a joint project with girl guiding Tamworth to develop an area of waste land into a campsite, including a cooking area and a camp fire. The plan is to have a useable campsite by November 2017.
  • £500 for Girl Guiding Tamworth towards their joint project with Aztec Network for the development of the waste land into a useable campsite.
  • £461.52 for Belgrave Community Allotment and Garden, to buy and install a storage shed. This project started in 2015 and has transformed a previously unused piece of land into a community growing space for the benefit of local residents and community groups.
  • £500 for Coton Green Church for their mentoring project which provides activities in Tamworth primary schools, for young people who face issues which affect their emotional wellbeing and impact on their education.
  • £345.60 for Lichfield and District Live at Home Scheme towards the travel expenses and costs of Tamworth volunteers
  • £500 for Milk Fairies, who are a breast feeding volunteer and support group. The grant will enable the group to purchase training packs, first aid sessions and some baby equipment.
  • £500 for MD Creative towards equipment and production costs in support of the SPLAT festival organised by Dig-It.
  • £500 for Philip England to help fund a one-off live acoustic, blues folk and roots music festival in Tamworth.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedCllr Stephen Doyle, chair of the Cabinet Grants Sub-Committee, said: “We are delighted to offer these small grants to continue helping and supporting these groups.

“Tamworth Borough Council really values the effort that all our local voluntary groups put in to make a difference in the community. If you have a community or arts project that will help make Tamworth a better place, please get in touch.”

Grants are available to community groups and voluntary organisations which run in the borough to enable them to develop and continue to provide their vital services.

To find out more about the grants, please contact Karen Clancy at Tamworth Borough Council on 01827 709709.

A TAMWORTH bus shelter will be given a wild makeover as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign, and to mark the launch of a brand new community project which will bring art to bus shelters across the borough.

Tamworth artist Simon Wingfield will be transforming a bus shelter on Peelers Way, Kettlebrook, throughout the day on Sunday, July 16th, with the theme ‘Wild About Tamworth’, in conjunction with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Anyone passing by will be able to witness the striking work of art taking shape, as Simon spray paints large images of birds onto the shelter.

As the bus stop (which backs on to the Tame Meadow Local Nature Reserve) is on the route the Heart of England in Bloom judges will take through the town on Tuesday, July 18th, it has been chosen as the first to be given an artistic makeover to launch a major new project coming to the town this autumn.

‘Catch Art’, part of the two-year Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, will see a number of bus shelters being given a new lease of life. The project is being led by Vic Brown, of Art Recruitment Tamworth, who also organises the popular Urban Arts Festival which takes place every year at the Castle Grounds’ skate park.

Vic will now spend the next few months working with local artists and school children to come up with designs for at least six bus shelters in areas including Amington, Glascote Heath, Stonydelph and Coton Green.

Some will be designed by professional artists, such as Simon Wingfield, who painted the local landmarks depicted on underpasses at Riverdrive, and some will be designed by the town’s youngsters.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedVic said: “We think the general public will like what we have planned this autumn to follow on from the Wild About Tamworth stop on Peelers Way.

“We have already received some great artwork from pre-school children and will be holding workshops in schools from September to get more youngsters involved.”

Catch Art is just one of a number of fantastic projects being delivered by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team to bring art to new and unusual spaces during the closure of Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

Speech Bubble, Tamworth InformedCllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “The idea behind Catch Art is to bring art to all areas of the town. We also wanted to involve the local community by inviting artists and school children to come up with colourful designs which will then be displayed on the bus shelters for all to see.

“It made sense to launch the project with a bus shelter on the Tamworth in Bloom judging route and we hope this will help us in our quest to win gold for the eighth year in a row.

“The artist’s impression for the Peelers Way bus shelter is certainly very striking and I can’t wait to see the final result on Sunday. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the rest of the project has in store later in the year.”

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