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A SMALL business grant scheme which has so far awarded 15 individuals a total of £14,753.68 is now open for a fourth round of applications.

The scheme helps promote new business start-ups, self-employment and entrepreneurship in Tamworth. New businesses in the area are now being encouraged to apply for a fourth round of grants of between £500 and £1500, before the application closing date on Friday, February 23.

Businesses including environmental cleaning; respite services for parents of special needs children; bespoke cakes; foot health practitioner; domestic, national and international relocation and media services have all benefited from the grant scheme since it was launched in April last year.

To receive these small business grants, individuals are required to meet some basic criteria. This includes attending the Enterprise for Success programme, which provides 12 hours of one-to-one advice and support delivered from Tamworth Enterprise Centre at Phillip Dix House in Corporation Street.

The Enterprise for Success programme ensures individuals and businesses have the right skills they need to run their business and results in the creation of a business plan.

Successful applicants include Ruminate Productions Ltd, which was awarded £836 towards the cost of equipment such as microphones, lighting and marketing. Emily Cowlishaw set the business up while studying for a bachelor’s degree in Media Production at the University of Lincoln. The business offers three main types of service – photography; videography and visual radio.

Emily at productions

Emily in ‘Action’


Emily said: “I can fully recommend this scheme to any business looking to start up or grow. Not only have I received a grant to help me develop, but the advice and support from the Enterprise for Success programme has been invaluable and I still speak to my mentor now.

“I am forever grateful to the council for allowing me to enrol on the programme and for the funding that has enabled me to invest in new equipment and establish my business further.”

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said; “This successful scheme continues to support individuals wishing to start up in new businesses or who have been trading for less than three years.

“Small businesses are the foundation of any thriving economy and using the new Tamworth Enterprise Centre as a ‘hub’ of support and advice can only help grow the local economy.”

Grant applications are recommended to the Cabinet Grants Committee on a quarterly basis for approval. An annual budget of £20,000 has been allocated to the scheme, with around £5,000 being distributed per quarter. This is subject to annual budget reviews and agreements up to March 31st 2020.

To submit an application in this round, individuals would need to attend the two day start-up masterclass on Wednesday February 7 and Thursday February 8, at The Tamworth Enterprise Centre. For more information on the masterclass visit:  http://www.tlforbusiness.co.uk/start-support

To register your interest and check if you are eligible for a grant please contact: Lorraine Farley (Business Liaison Officer) 01827 709525 or email: [email protected]

yummy mummy

LOVE is soon to be in the air at the town’s shopping centre, as Stay & Play returns for its first free session of 2018 next week.

Ankerside Shopping Centre’s monthly Stay & Play morning will return on Thursday, 25 January, where little ones will have the chance to make heart-warming gifts to take home to their loved ones.

Alongside the Valentine’s-themed fun, children along with parents, grandparents and childminders will also be able to enjoy inflatables, a bubble machine and a visit from Ankerside’s colourful Stay & Play monster between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said he is looking forward to seeing Stay & Play return throughout 2018. “The response to the centre’s monthly sessions has been excellent, so we can’t wait to continue its success during this year too.

“Throughout the morning, little ones will be able to decorate their very own chocolate gift and then make a Valentine’s card to take home to their loved ones.

“Thursday is also a chance for children to fill in their learning books that they bring along to each event. Plus, it’s a great little memento for parents and the rest of the family.

“We hope everyone has a lovely time at our Stay & Play morning next week and we can’t wait to see the children’s decorated chocolates and cards.”

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 wishing to attend with their little ones.

Politics and Representatives Video Series

TAMWORTH Informed are very pleased to bring you the first two videos which we have commissioned as part of our ‘Politics and Representatives’ series, to help bring greater understanding of various roles.

We bring you lots of news throughout the year and mention various roles and people that make decisions on our behalf and represent us; but does everyone know what all these people do?

Through this series of videos, we aim to give people a greater understanding of what everyone does and why.  In the series, we will bring you information about the role of an MP, Councillors, Leader of the Council and Opposition, Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff.

SEE MORE: You can see our videos on the role of the Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff here.

In this video, we can see Edna talking to Councillor Daniel Cook (Leader of the Council) and Councillor Simon Peaple (Leader of the opposition) about the role of being a Councillor.

This is Edna talking to Christopher Pincher MP, about the role of being a Member of Parliament and also a Party Whip:

We will bring you more videoes from the series over the coming weeks.

choose care career

CARE companies in Staffordshire are looking to recruit an army of carers to help those eligible for help live independently for as long as possible in their homes.

Staffordshire County Council, in partnership with care companies across the county, launched a recruitment campaign yesterday, (Thursday) to encourage more people to think of a career in caring.

This year Staffordshire County Council will be funding millions of hours of care to support people with day-to-day personal tasks.

The county council has also launched a stand-alone company Nexxus to recruit carers to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible after a hospital stay.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing Alan White said:  “People in Staffordshire are living longer, and with an ageing population comes an increased need for people to care for them.  We need more people to choose a career in care, which 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.  With the training and development available, care can be more than just a job – it can be a viable career path for all sorts of people.

“By encouraging more people to take up a career in caring, we are not only offering employment opportunities to local people but are also ensuring there are enough carers to cope with the increased demand for care.”

To find out more about the benefits of working in care and the type of care roles available, people can visit www.carecareerstaffordshire.org.


logs in fireplace with flames

STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is asking residents to keep warm safely following a house fire in Burton.

The Service was called at 7.45pm on January 9 to Queensland Crescent after reports of a fire in the bedroom.

When the crew arrived they found an electric back heater pad had been placed in the resident’s bed which had overheated and smouldered through the bedding. The 93-year-old had taken the pad and the blankets and put them in the bath.

Station Manager John Kitchener said: “Fortunately this incident did not develop into a full blaze and was actually out when we arrived. As the heat pad was under blankets it could easily have set these alight and caused a far more serious fire.

“This type of pad is not designed to be used in this way and we urge residents to use any products that admit heat inline with its instructions and guidelines. We also advise anyone who discovers a fire in their home to get out, stay out. Although we understand why the lady removed the pad and blankets the safest thing to do is to leave the property and call us.

“This incident is the second this week to involve an elderly person trying to keep warm although thankfully this incident did not have the same tragic outcome. This particular resident had mobility issues. These are two factors highlighted in the SAME campaign which aims to make people aware of the four factors which increase the likelihood of dying in a fire. These are Smoking, Alcohol, Mobility issues and being Elderly.

“Please keep warm safely and if you need any information on heating on your home call our free Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.”

For more information visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/wintersafety.asp

Saxon Gallery

A NEW interactive and family-friendly gallery at Tamworth Castle – devoted to Tamworth’s Anglo-Saxon history and the Staffordshire Hoard – has moved a step closer.

The step is following the awarding of a £499,900 grant funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

The project will create an innovative and engaging permanent exhibition exploring and celebrating Tamworth’s important Anglo-Saxon history. The exhibition will showcase pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard and artefacts from Tamworth Castle’s collection. It will explore many exciting aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard including themes of battle, Kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.

The first stage of the new gallery known as the ‘Battle and Tribute Project,’ was awarded a £55,500 development grant from the HLF and £13,900 in funding by Tamworth Borough Council, to enable full research and development of the project.

Extensive consultation and visitors surveys have shaped the new exhibition and will look to include a Battle film experience, a Mead Hall or Saxon Palace and an interactive battle touch-table game. Displays will help link the story of the hoard to everyday Saxon life and culture of the Mercian Kingdom.

The exhibition will be interactive and family orientated to suit a range of audiences.  Displays will examine the battle connections between the hoard pieces and the warring tribal communities that settled around Tamworth and who started to form the Kingdom of Mercia.

A computer image od how the exhibition in the Mead Hall will look.

A computer image of how the gallery in the Mead Hall will look.


The project will involve some conservation work to the castle building and also includes work in partnership with Tamworth Town Guides and Tamworth schools to develop accompanying activities including education workshops, living history characters, a Saxon Town Tour and an Anglo-Saxon festival to launch the new gallery.

The new gallery on the top floor of the castle is to go ahead following the awarding of the HLF grant, which is 65% of the project total of £768,379. The remainder of the cost will be match funded from Tamworth Borough Council, the Ready to Borrow Scheme supported by the Arts Council England and Friends of Tamworth Castle.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet member for Environment & Culture said: “Since the creation of the Staffordshire Hoard Trail and the subsequent exhibition of the Staffordshire Hoard at Tamworth Castle, we have been working towards developing an exhibition that will enhance the hoard display and Tamworth’s Saxon history.

“The first round of HLF funding allowed us the means to explore and develop the most advantageous ways to put forward a comprehensive second bid for funding to now carry out the work.

“Previous HLF grants have allowed us to carry out essential conservation work on the castle and detailed interpretation development and this latest funding will allow us to offer a state-of-the-art exhibition which will significantly add to the attraction for visitors for years to come.

“This project represents another huge investment in Tamworth Castle and our wider much-celebrated heritage.”

The new gallery will allow Tamworth Castle to fulfil its role as a key venue on the Staffordshire Hoard Trail, along with partners Birmingham Museums Trust, the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and Lichfield Cathedral.

The Staff at Tamworth Castle.

The Staff at Tamworth Castle.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of the HLF West Midlands said: “We are delighted to support this project, which will create a permanent gallery for objects from the Staffordshire Hoard at Tamworth Castle.

“This is a fantastic addition to the Staffordshire Hoard Trail in the West Midlands in the West Midlands, which also features National Lottery funded displays at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.”

The Staffordshire Hoard is owned by Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils, and managed on their behalf by Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

the Trent valley

NATURE lovers are being invited to take part in a series of ‘community conversations’ designed to help shape the future of the Trent Valley landscape near Tamworth.

The series of four evening meetings take place in Tamworth in January and February during which people will be asked to share ideas and influence plans for spending up to £3million in grant money from the Heritage Lottery Fund on improving the river landscape.

The funding will enable a wide range of environmental, cultural and community-led projects to take place on the striking Trent Valley river corridors, including the Tame, Trent and Dove river valleys, covering some 190 square kilometres from Tamworth to Uttoxeter.

Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape Partnership is being led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and is made up of a number of quarry operators and statutory and voluntary organisations, including Tamworth Borough Council.

The first stage of the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £256,300 is being spent on an 18-month development phase with partners working together with the community to develop a vision and plan for the landscape. This will support the development of a larger and more detailed proposal being submitted this year to secure the bulk of the funding.

Transforming the Trent Valley will sit alongside and link into the current Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme which has been delivering £2.5million worth of improvements to the River Tame landscape between Tamworth and Birmingham since 2014, as part of a separate successful lottery bid. Led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the Tame Valley project has focused on ‘creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’.

The series of meetings regarding the new Trent Valley project will be held in Tamworth town centre from January 17 and will focus on the areas of Tamworth, Hopwas, Whittington and Elford. Organisers will be aiming to record the local community’s views, concerns and values around the issues facing the river landscape and develop ideas on how the grant money could help improve it.

Overall, the project aims to create a more robust and attractive landscape for residents and visitors to enjoy, while revealing its archaeological and industrial heritage, restoring characteristic features such as meandering river channels and water meadows, creating new and improved wildlife habitats and improving access for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, including new opportunities for sport and recreation.

The 'Transforming the Trent Valley' scheme area

The ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ scheme area – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “There has been a significant focus on the river valleys through and around Tamworth in recent years to restore, enhance and protect them for wildlife and members of the public to enjoy.

“Lots of work has taken place on the river landscape in Tamworth itself as part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme, thanks to funding from National Lottery players. This work is ongoing and nature lovers are now being given the opportunity to inform a similar project in the neighbouring Trent Valley. This project will enable us to consider how we can strengthen physical and virtual links between local communities and different parts of the river valley in Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

“Tamworth Borough Council is an active partner in all of these projects and we hope to see lots of local people taking the opportunity to get involved and give their views on protecting these vital features for the future.”

Louise Morris, Landscape Partnership Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley, said: “We have been working hard over the last few months to really develop our understanding of the Trent Valley and an important part of this is understanding the views of the communities who live, work and play there.

“These ‘community conversations’ are an important way for people to get involved and the ideas that are put forward will influence how the various projects are developed.”

All are welcome at the community conversations, but people need to be willing to take part in all the discussions. For more information about the sessions or to join the conversation, please contact Helen Bovey on 07775 633205, or email [email protected].

Cast of Cinderella

VOLUNTARY, arts and sports groups across Tamworth have received a collective cash boost of more than £6,000 from Tamworth Borough Council.

Nine groups have each been awarded grants of between £450 and £600 from the Voluntary and Community Grants scheme, the Arts Grants and Sports Grant awards.

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

The latest grants are:

  • £500 for Community Together CIC, a voluntary group who will use this Art Grant funding towards the cost of artist’s fees to build a bronze memorial statue to the Staffordshire Regiment which will be displayed in the castle grounds. The memorial will be a bronze replica of the regiment’s mascot dog Watchman.
  • An additional £500 for Community Together CIC has been awarded from the Voluntary and Community Grants scheme to host a launch event for the unveiling ceremony of the Staffordshire Regiment memorial statue. The ceremony will take place in Tamworth after a regimental parade through the town centre. The parade will include representation from a number of organisations including Scouts and Cadets. It is estimated that 500 people will be in attendance.  The grant will help towards hire costs of a venue and provide refreshments and publicity for the event including the purchase of a brass plaque.
  • £471.20 for Derventio Housing, an association that provides accommodation for adults who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.  The Voluntary and Community Grant will fund welcome packs for new tenants. The welcome pack includes toiletries, towels, crockery and cutlery, alongside a starter food pack consisting of a few basic food items and a clean house pack – washing up liquid, clothes, toilet roll etc.
  • £500 for Dosthill Park Wildlife Group, an organisation that helps to preserve and protect wildlife and improve wildlife habitats. The group aim to improve access for the public to wildlife and educational resources.  The site is used by many people and the group link in with the Tame Valley Wetland Project. The Voluntary and Community Grant will be used for a number of purposes including; hire of a meeting venue, purchase of equipment and also to buy an oak tree and spring bulbs.
  • £500 for Dosthill Scouts Group, towards the refurbishment of the Dorcas Centre. Beavers, Cubs and Scouts all use the centre which also provides a venue for a number of other community groups, including a pre-school playgroup, and is accessed by a wide age range of local people. The Scout group would like to replace and redecorate the toilets and replace ceiling lights.
  • In addition, Dosthill Scouts Group has been awarded £500 from the Arts Grant for funding towards the cost of art materials to create a mural at the Dorcas Centre. The project will involve all the young people who access the Scouting groups at the centre.
  • £500 for Tamworth Pantomime Company towards the cost associated with the hire of the big top tent for the recent Cinderella pantomime in the Castle Grounds. The pantomime provides an opportunity for local people to enjoy a festive production and it also gives the actors and volunteers the chance to perform and contribute to the community.
  • In addition, Tamworth Pantomime Company has been awarded £500 from the Arts Grant scheme towards other pantomime stage and production costs.
Volunteers at Dosthill Park

Volunteers at Dosthill Park

Other Arts Grant Awards:

  • £500 for The Coton Centre, towards the cost of upgrading the sound system at the centre and installing window blinds, to support with the development of a community cinema. The community cinema would show quality films at a low cost that the community could access. The upgrading of the system would also support with the ongoing development of the centre as a venue to run theatrical performances and drama workshops. A team of two volunteers will implement and oversee the project, and liaise with other local village cinema groups to help provide films for the community cinema.
  • £500 for The Girl Guides – Tamworth, towards the decoration of a bus stop in Tamworth that will commemorate the centenary of girl guiding in the town. The grant will help towards the cost of artist’s fees and art materials.
Volunteers planting wildflowers at Dosthill

Volunteers planting wildflowers at Dosthill

Sports Grants Awards:

  • £600 for Emma Pick, a triathlon swimmer from Tamworth Swimming Club, who has competed in the World Standard Distance Triathlon Age Group Championships in Rotterdam. The grant will help towards travel, hotel and race fee costs.
  • £450 for Wilnecote Cricket Club, towards junior cricket equipment such as bats, helmets, pads and gloves. The club intends to set up a new under 9s cricket side. The club has lacked a continuous junior side for some years and the aim is to set up a sustainable junior section run by a team of volunteers. Long-term the club aim to secure junior recreational sport for young people in the Tamworth community.

Cllr Steven Claymore, chair of the Cabinet Grants Sub-Committee, said: “We are always delighted to offer these small grants to continue helping and supporting these groups and individuals.

“Tamworth Borough Council really values the effort that all our local voluntary groups put in to make a difference in the community. We also encourage talented sporting individuals, helping to put Tamworth on the ‘international map’.

“If you have a community, arts or sports project that will help make Tamworth a better place, please get in touch.”

Grants are available to community and voluntary organisations; arts and sports projects; 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 or email: [email protected]

Tamworth Library

THREE months of consultation over the best way forward for Staffordshire’s libraries begins today (Jan 8).

Discussions will include potentially using technology to maintain and extend opening hours with an automated service, increasing the number of community managed libraries and reviewing how the mobile and travelling service is used.

Although Staffordshire has 43 libraries, this review only applies to the 20 which are still directly managed and run by the county council.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said: “We have worked hard in recent years to buck the trend of closures happening in so many other places and have succeeded in keeping all Staffordshire’s 43 libraries open and part of our statutory provision.

“This consultation is about looking to the future and examining ideas already being used in other parts of the country to see how we can keep our libraries relevant to people’s changing needs.”

Since 2014, following extensive public consultation, 23 of the county’s libraries have been transferred, or are in the process of being transferred, to community groups which take over the management and day-to-day running of the building, while the council remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs.

These 23 libraries are not being considered in this consultation. Gill Heath added: “The community-managed libraries are already doing good things in their neighbourhoods, evolving into flexible hubs adding other services local people want.”

People will be asked to comment on possible options for each of the remaining 20 libraries, specifically:

  • maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using technology to allow registered users access to the library outside core hours. No library would become completely self-service;
  • maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using more volunteers;
  • becoming a community-managed library, where a group takes over the management and day-to-day running, with access to all the council’s library resources, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs.

All 20 libraries involved in the process will be considered for the options involving maintaining and extending existing opening hours. They are: Biddulph, Burntwood, Burton, Cannock, Cheadle, Clayton, Codsall, Eccleshall, Kidsgrove, Leek, Lichfield, Newcastle, Penkridge, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Wombourne.

As well as the different ways of maintaining and extending existing opening hours, the four ‘least busy’ libraries will also be considered for suitability to become community-managed libraries. They are Cheadle, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge.

Gill Heath said: “Nothing is set in stone, but we want to talk to different communities about different ideas and discuss the possibilities for the way forward.”

The consultation lasts until April 1 and there will be events, advertised locally and at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/connectedlibraries , at every county council managed library and at 10 mobile and travelling library stops.

People can also use the same website to leave their comments, fill in a questionnaire at any library, or email [email protected] to have their say.

Bernie Jelfs

OVER one hundred people have gathered at the National Memorial Arboreum in Alrewas, near Tamworth today (Sunday 7th Januray) to pay their respects to Bernie Jelfs who sadly passed away last week.

‘Bernie’ is part of the Ride to the Wall event which takes place annually at the National Memorial Arboretum to gives motorcyclists an opportunity to gather together at a place of remembrance, to pay their respects to serving and fallen service men and women.

Bernie could be seen each year, travelling with his dog, Marlow, on the rear of his bike from Llanberis in North Wales.

Being such a well-known member of the RTTW family, once the tragic news of his passing spread via the Official Ride to the Wall Facebook group a memorial service was naturally organinsed as tributes flooded in from around the country.

Tamworth Informed extensively covered the 2017 Ride to the Wall event and our reporte, Edna Hills, had the privilage of interviewing Bernie prior to setting off from Drayton Manor Park.  That video can be seen here.

We were fortunate to be invited along today to pay our respects and to document the event for those that could not attend.

If you know anyone who could not make the event then please share this article with them so that they do not miss out. Unfortunately the admins over at the RTTW page will not allow us to share this link there.

This is the full service that was held within the chapel at the NMA:

We also got to speak to some of Bernie’s Family at the Service:

Below you can see a selection of interviewd with various attendees at the event:


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