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Staffordshire Youth Commission

AFTER an impressive first year the Staffordshire Youth Commission has been asked to continue its work for a second year and Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis is now appealing to young people in Tamworth to come forward.

The Staffordshire Youth Commission was established as a pilot project in 2016 to provide 14-25 year-olds with the opportunity to help shape the future of policing.

The unique group immediately identified six areas of concern they wanted to focus on; hate crime and islamophobia, cyber-bullying and safety online, drug and alcohol abuse, stereotyping and trust in the police, knife and gang crime and changing lives away from crime.

Since identifying these priorities the members have gone on to speak with 1,500 other young people across Staffordshire to gain their views and opinions on policing, the criminal justice system and what they feel is important to their generation.

A year’s worth of work cumulated with a ‘Big Conversation’ allowing the Youth Commission to present its findings and recommendations to key organisations and influencers including PCC Matthew Ellis, Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker and representatives from the Princes Trust, YMCA and Staffordshire County Council.

Recommendations included involving Youth Commission members helping police to run online safety sessions with their peers, the OPCC to encourage youth groups, schools and organisations to take part in educational sessions with those who have been directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse and providing more information to employers on criminal records so they can make an educated employment decision based on an individual’s risk of reoffending.

The group is made up of people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and includes those who have been victims or witnesses of crime and those with an interest in policing and related fields such as criminology and law.

Mr Ellis said: ‘The Staffordshire Youth Commission is a seriously impressive bunch of young people and I was blown away by their insightful and well thought out feedback.

‘I commissioned this group to carry out in-depth work to gain the views of young people but also to involve them in the work to improve the criminal justice system and to shape policing in Staffordshire. I know young people in Tamworth have plenty of opinions and great ideas and we want to hear them.

‘It was fantastic to see the members of the Youth Commission take ownership of this project and come up with some great recommendations to improve relationships with the police.

‘I am incredibly grateful for all their hard work which is why I have commissioned them for a second year and agreed to provide £10,000 to help them put their plans into action. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.’

Deputy Chief Constable, Nick Baker said: ‘It was fantastic to hear the detailed feedback from the Staffordshire Youth Commission. They had some great recommendations on how we can work with young people to get a better understanding of the crimes that particularly worry them, how they view the police and how they suggest we can engage better with young people in the community.’

Rebecca, a Youth Commission member from Stafford said: ‘I joined the Staffordshire Youth Commission after finding out about it during college. I thought that it would be a great experience which would help me towards my goal of being a police officer in the future.

‘During the time that I’ve been a part of this, I have not only developed a better insight into many topics such as hate crime and islamophobia and, drugs and alcohol, it has also taught me more about how it affects people and what impacts they have on society. I feel as though this opportunity has helped me develop many skills such as public speaking and will stay with me on my journey to achieving my career goals.’

If you are interested in joining call 01785 232491 or join in the conversation on twitter using hashtag #StaffsYC.

TAMWORTH’S first official Dementia Awareness Week was a great success, with people across the borough uniting to raise vital awareness for those living with the condition.

More than a dozen activities took place in Tamworth between Sunday, May 14 and Saturday, May 20, as part of National Dementia Awareness Week, including coffee mornings, drop-in sessions, a market stall, an orienteering walk, a tea party and several ‘tea and twiddle’ sessions.

Participation in the event was one of the first major initiatives to be held since Tamworth won ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ status at the beginning of May.

As well as raising vital awareness, more than £450 was received in donations – over £300 for the Alzheimer’s Society and £150 for the dementia ward at Good Hope Hospital.

People from all walks of life got involved in the week, whether that was by attending a drop-in session, having a cup of coffee and a chat, throwing spare change in the donation box, or knitting a ‘Twiddle Muff’ to help those living with dementia.

Twiddle Muffs are double thickness hand muffs which have buttons, bows, pompoms, zips and other items attached, both inside and out. They help people with dementia to reduce anxiety and occupy their restless hands, as well as providing visual, tactical and sensory stimulation.

So far the people of Tamworth have knitted more than 100 Twiddle Muffs which are being distributed through support groups, care homes and hospitals.

 orienteering walk with Community Together CIC

Orienteering walk with Community Together CIC

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.

Activities are being co-ordinated through the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance (TDAA), – a partnership of stakeholders working together to raise awareness and improve services locally. The TDAA now boasts 17 member organisations (and counting) including Tamworth Borough Council, the police, fire service, health care services and providers, community groups and businesses.

David Barnes, Chairman of the TDAA and Alzheimer’s Society volunteer, said: “The main purpose of Dementia Awareness Week was to make contact with people who are affected by dementia either directly – such as those with dementia and their carers – or indirectly, such as their friends, relations or casual acquaintances.

“I believe we achieved this aim and can say the people of Tamworth are truly ‘united against dementia’. The money donated in many cases was a gesture in memory of those lost to dementia and is greatly appreciated by the Alzheimer’s Society. Thank you to everyone who took part in the week.”

Knit Natter at ABs Cafe

Knit Natter at ABs Cafe

Cllr Andrew James, Tamworth Borough Council’s lead member for dementia, said: “The timing of National Dementia Awareness Week was perfect for launching Tamworth as a Dementia Friendly Community and highlighting some of the work that will be taking place to raise awareness and improve services locally for those living with dementia.

“It was a very successful week and I think there is now an improved awareness of dementia as a serious and important issue that is affecting more and more people every year. However, this is only the beginning and we all have a responsibility to ensure people living with dementia feel included, engaged and valued.”

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

There are now more than 1,900 Dementia Friends and 10 Dementia Champions in Tamworth and those numbers are increasing all the time. The overall aim is that wherever people with dementia go to access services, shop, or relax, there will be someone with an understanding about dementia and how the condition affects them.

Knit Natter at Druckers

Knit Natter at Druckers

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.

Dementia Champions undertake a day of training and are then able to deliver Dementia Friends awareness sessions in the community. Tamworth’s Dementia Champions include Cllr Tina Clements, TDAA chairman David Barnes and Lee Bates, project co-ordinator of the Community Together CIC – a key member of the TDAA. Between them they have helped create hundreds of new Dementia Friends in the town.

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

Cannock Chase Training Camo

STAFFORDSHIRE is getting set to commemorate Cannock Chase history and the role of WWI training camps

Plans to highlight the history of Cannock Chase and the role of the Great War training camps are being planned for the summer.

The Chase’s two military camps trained over half a million troops for the trenches from across the UK and abroad and today survive as the most complete Great War archaeological sites in the country. Soldiers would have spent several months at the camps to learn the skills required on the Western Front.

Now, 100 years on, a commemoration event being held on 24th and 25th June will pay tribute to the area’s history and role in the Great War.

Visitors will get the chance to experience a WWI field hospital, take a tour of the Great War hut and watch films of the time in an authentic period cinema. The event will also host a full sized replica SE5A Fighter Plane with an opportunity to sit in the cockpit and experience something of the cramped conditions early pilots experienced.

The Birmingham Pals will demonstrate mining techniques and infantry training methods from the period with a chance to enter a mine and experience what it was like to dig for victory on the Western Front.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Cannock Chase is steeped in history and we’re incredibly proud to have such a valuable heritage site right on our doorstep.

“We’re looking forward to the event which will give people the chance to learn more about this important landscape and its history.  As well as a chance to experience what life was like on the training camps, the event will also show visitors what life would have been like for people living on the Chase thousands of years ago.”

Cannock Chase Council’s  Managing Director, Tony McGovern said

“The Chase has a truly special importance in the heritage, history and culture of our District. This event will help people to understand and appreciate how significant a role Cannock Chase has played, not only in the First World War but throughout history.”

The event will also showcase results from the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Chase through Time’ project which is exploring the wider archaeology and history of the Chase.  Visitors can experience key periods of the area’s history from the Iron Age, right through to the Norman period and beyond.  People will have the chance to talk with local historians, including a Norman resident of the Chase who will explain about hunting during the medieval period.

The event will take place at the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre, on Marquis Drive and is being organised by Staffordshire County Council alongside partners including Cannock Chase District Council, Cannock Chase AONB Unit, Friends of Cannock Chase and Historic England.

People can find out more about the event on the Chase Through Time Facebook page (facebook.com/CTTProject) and can learn more about the county’s Great War commemorations at www.staffordshiregreatwar.com.

Counterfeit Goods

Buying counterfeit goods can seriously damage people’s health and wellbeing, the county county’s communities leader has warned ahead of this weekend’s bank holiday market events.

Gill Heath said that at this time of year, there is particular concern around the sale of counterfeit sunglasses and even counterfeit branded sunscreen. Counterfeit sunglasses often have little or no protection against UV rays – meaning people’s eyes could be damaged.

Fake branded sunscreen is not likely to contain any of the necessary protective elements. Furthermore counterfeit cosmetic products have been found to contain toxic chemicals.

While providing a family day out where people can pick up a bargain, car boot sale and market events can attract traders selling counterfeit and illicit goods. The county council’s trading standards team coordinates the national Real Deal markets campaign in Staffordshire as part of the operation to stamp out the sale of counterfeit goods.

Gill Heath added:

“While we often issue reminders to people to avoid counterfeit goods, at this time of year we want to draw people’s attention to the real risks of counterfeit sunglasses and fake branded sunscreen. With sunglasses, people’s eyes will let in more light due to the dark lenses, though this does more harm as more UV light will enter the eye.

“Counterfeit sunscreen will often little or no protection at all, risking skin damage from the sun. We’d like to reiterate the fact that these products do not present a bargain and can damage health. Products like designer sunglasses and sunscreen are more often sold at high street retailers. Price is usually a good indicator – if something is too good to be true, it usually is.”

Some of the dangers of counterfeit goods include:

• Counterfeit alcohol such as vodka contains dangerous chemicals which can cause may health problems such as blindness
• Fake electrical goods such as hair straighteners or phone chargers will not have been tested and could be a fire hazard or put people at risk of electrocution
• Counterfeit perfume can often burn skin or leave a nasty rash and may contain lead
• Fake sunglasses often offer no UVA protection, causing eye damage
• Fake or illicit tobacco often contains unknown chemicals, higher tar levels and cigarettes can be a fire risk as they do not burn out like legitimate products
• Counterfeit children’s toys can often be unsafe with unsuitable small parts and children’s clothes may be inflammable.

Legitimate traders suffer as a result of counterfeit sales; harming the local economy in the process. Money made also goes into the pockets of organised criminal gangs.

Anyone wanting to report counterfeit goods sales can call the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.

UK POLICE MEMORIAL

TODAY saw the national launch of the fund raising campaign for the new UK Police Memorial to recognise the courage and sacrifice of the thousands of members of the UK police service who gave their lives to serve and protect our communities.

Staffordshire Police say that they are very proud to be police force responsible ensuring the safety of the National Memorial Arboretum where the memorial will be built.

The fund has now had Royal support with the following statement from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge:

“The United Kingdom is recognised around the world as the home of modern policing but, as recent events have reminded us, that rich heritage is interwoven with a history of sacrifice. More than 1,400 police officers and staff have died in the line of duty, and it is high time a Police Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum existed to act as a focal point for remembrance and gratitude.

“Since 2001, the National Memorial Arboretum has been a place of solemn remembrance and quiet reflection. It is therefore a fitting place in which to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the policemen and women who have given up their lives, and the commitment and courage of all those who continue to serve.

“This campaign aims to fund a physical memorial and a digital experience, as well as a living memorial that will help to support the families of the fallen. The money committed so far by the Government, as well as Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, staff associations and companies and business is testament to the significance of this project, and I have no doubt that people across the UK will be eager to raise the rest of the funds needed.

“I am delighted to lend my support to this campaign to raise funds to honour the memory of the hundreds of fallen officers by erecting a UK Police Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum.”

Find out more or donate by visiting https://www.ukpolicememorial.org.

Staffordshire police crest with batternberg

IT is just three weeks until the gates of Staffordshire Police Headquarters swing open for the 2017 Open Day.

With four weeks to go Staffordshire Police can reveal that there will be four different demonstration arenas this year.

The event takes place on Sunday 4 June from 11 until 4.

There will be more grandstand seating to improve the view of the two different police dog displays, and they will be doubling the number of opportunities to see how police deal with public order incidents and road traffic collisions.

There will also be a separate demonstration arena showing how a door is no barrier to tackling crime and keeping people safe.

Last year around 15,000 visitors enjoyed a fantastic day free day out, so police have added more buses to the park and ride service which will ferry visitors direct to the open day from the car parks at the Staffordshire County Showground.

If you are making your own way to Police Headquarters, please use the FREE park and ride service which will include easy access buses and dedicated parking area for wheelchair users.

free park and ride signThere are no parking spaces for open day visitors on the headquarters site itself –  all the space is being used for the event but the park and ride will be sign posted and is less than 5 minutes away.

Ample free parking is available at the Staffordshire County Showground – look out for the yellow signs. There are a fleet of easy access buses operating to take you directly to gates of Police Headquarters running every few minutes.

This year there is more buses than every before and they are bigger also with more space for push chairs and wheel chairs.

Unfortunately Staffordshire Police are unable to provide any transport from local police stations this year – They will have details of the best ways of getting the event soon.

Address and Sat Nav postcode: Weston Road, Stafford, ST18 0BD

Canine Partners

ANKERSIDE shoppers have proven just how generous they are by digging deep and donating more than £600 to charity Canine Partners in just a single day.

The charity, that aims to transform the lives of those living with physical disabilities by pairing them with assistance dogs, visited the centre to raise awareness about the vital work they do. During that time, Ankerside shoppers donated a staggering £641.

“This is a remarkable total to raise in just one day,” said Ankerside Centre Manager Jeff Wigley (or should that he Wagley!?). “As a key part of the Tamworth community we support a whole host of different charities and good causes and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help Canine Partners with their fundraising. 

“The work that Canine Partners does is vital to those that have a variety of physical disabilities and conditions that means they need help from their four-legged friends. The money donated by our fantastic shoppers will go towards helping train the next generation of assistance dogs for the charity and I’m thrilled that we’re able to play a part in that.”

Canine Partners’ fundraising assistant Charlotte Jopling said: “We are incredibly grateful to Ankerside Shopping Centre to giving us such a fantastic fundraising opportunity and all of the generous shoppers who helped us raise a whopping £642 in just one day at the centre.

“Our volunteers also enjoyed the opportunity to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and shoppers had the chance to meet three puppies that are training to become assistance dogs. This is the third year we have visited the shopping centre and during that time we have raised more than £2,493.

“Canine Partners receives no government funding so we rely on the generosity of organisations and members of the public to help us pay to train our amazing assistance dogs that transform the lives of disabled people by supporting them with everyday tasks.”

Staffordshire police crest with batternberg

IT is just four weeks until the gates of Staffordshire Police Headquarters swing open for the 2017 Open Day.

With four weeks to go Staffordshire Police can reveal that there will be four different demonstration arenas this year.

The event takes place on Sunday 4 June from 11 until 4.

There will be more grandstand seating to improve the view of the two different police dog displays, and they will be doubling the number of opportunities to see how police deal with public order incidents and road traffic collisions.

There will also be a separate demonstration arena showing how a door is no barrier to tackling crime and keeping people safe.

Last year around 15,000 visitors enjoyed a fantastic day free day out, so police have added more buses to the park and ride service which will ferry visitors direct to the open day from the car parks at the Staffordshire County Showground.

If you are making your own way to Police Headquarters, please use the FREE park and ride service which will include easy access buses and dedicated parking area for wheelchair users.

free park and ride signThere are no parking spaces for open day visitors on the headquarters site itself –  all the space is being used for the event but the park and ride will be sign posted and is less than 5 minutes away.

Ample free parking is available at the Staffordshire County Showground – look out for the yellow signs. There are a fleet of easy access buses operating to take you directly to gates of Police Headquarters running every few minutes.

This year there is more buses than every before and they are bigger also with more space for push chairs and wheel chairs.

Unfortunately Staffordshire Police are unable to provide any transport from local police stations this year – They will have details of the best ways of getting the event soon.

Address and Sat Nav postcode: Weston Road, Stafford, ST18 0BD

Staffordshire Day

Thousands of people from across the county turned out for the second Staffordshire Day celebrations yesterday (Monday 1 May).

Over 60 events across the county marked the day, as attractions, businesses and communities came together to share their pride and show what great things the county has to offer.

Highlights included Kate Malone from BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down at World of Wedgwood, who joined children to decorate a giant vase. Thousands turned out for both the Lymelight Music Festival in Newcastle and the Leek Arts Festival over the weekend. Flip Out in Stone are hoping to break a world record on the trampolines and at Churnet Valley Railway in the Moorlands, Staffordshire Bull Terriers went free on the day.

At Tamworth Castle, children listened to stories of knights, dragons and princesses, while Middleton Hall held a traditional spring fayre.

In Burton, dinosaurs took over at the National Forest Adventure Farm, Claymills Pumping Station had original stationary steam engines, and the National Brewery Centre gave two for one museum tours. There was also a vintage market at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Stafford saw the first Tour de Lewis bike ride starting and finishing at The Moat House Acton Trussell.

In Lichfield, the Garrick 300 Community Party featured community market, art and local history displays and crafts activities.

Darryl Eyers, Director for Economy at Staffordshire County Council said:

“It’s wonderful again to see so many people joining in the Staffordshire Day celebrations and helping to raise the profile of our great county. With almost 60 events taking place, from music, arts and food festivals to history talks and walks, there was something for everyone.

“We all know Staffordshire is a great place to live and visit, with brilliant people and attractions and the day helped us let the world know. Many of our attractions, businesses and local communities all found their own special way to celebrate and revel in the day.”

This was the second Staffordshire Day, which has now become a regular fixture in the county’s tourism calendar. The date for the annual celebration was chosen by the public in 2015 and marks the creation of Staffordshire’s world-famous Wedgwood pottery company in 1759.

Enjoy Staffordshire, the county’s tourism body behind the initiative, which is also being supported by Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the county’s other local authorities.

Tamworth in bloom solider

THE 2017 Tamworth in Bloom campaign has been launched, revealing a very special theme for this year.

Tamworth Borough Council has teamed up with the Mercian Regiment to celebrate its 10th anniversary, marking a decade since the regiment was first formed in Tamworth Castle Grounds by its Colonel-in-Chief The Prince of Wales.

The theme ‘Mercian 10 – the Heart of England’s Infantry’ will be at the centre of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign and will include a number of festive and floral celebrations to mark the anniversary.

In keeping with Tamworth in Bloom tradition, the Moor Street traffic island at the end of Lichfield Street will be given a new design to reflect the new theme, with one of the raised beds being planted in the shape of the Mercian logo.

This year Tamworth is looking to strike gold for the eighth year in a row in the Heart of England in Bloom competition so the pressure is on to maintain the high standard of previous years.

Street Scene teams from Tamworth Borough Council will be out in force in the coming weeks to prepare the area for its summer floral display. Communities, groups, businesses and individuals are being encouraged to get involved to help make the town shine, even if that’s just by putting up a hanging basket.

Last years theme was 100 years of Cubs

Last years theme was 100 years of Cubs

Businesses are invited to join in by sponsoring a display; banners, planters, troughs and flowerbeds are all available for branding with the names of supporting companies.

Roasters of Tamworth is one of the competition’s main sponsors and is kindly providing the lunch to be served to Heart of England in Bloom judges at Tamworth Castle during the judging day on July 18.

Andrew Barratt, Tamworth Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Growth, Assets & Environment, said: “The Mercian Regiment has strong ties with Tamworth, having been formed in the grounds of Tamworth Castle by Prince Charles during an historic ceremony in 2007. We are delighted to be joining with the regiment to celebrate the anniversary, and doing that through Tamworth in Bloom is a very fitting tribute to the occasion.”

“Tamworth in Bloom is not just about the flowers – it’s about working with and celebrating the groups, organisations and individuals in the borough, and doing our bit to make Tamworth a place to be proud of.

“We hope that even more people will get involved in helping to make Tamworth bloom again this year.”

To get involved in this year’s Tamworth In Bloom campaign or for more information on sponsorship packages, contact Environmental Management on 01827 709445 or email environmentalmanagement@tamworth.gov.uk

The Mercian Regiment is the Heart of England’s Infantry, recruiting from the five counties which formed the ancient Kingdom of Mercia: Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

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