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Police collision investigation unit

POLICE are appealing for witnesses following a serious road traffic collision in South Staffordshire last night (15 January).

Officers from our Collision Investigation Unit were called at around 9.35pm after a white Suzuki Jimny collided with a white Mercedes articulated HGV on the A5 Trunk Road at Four Ashes at the junction with Vicarage Road.

A 37-year-old woman from Telford was taken to Newcross Hospital with head injuries. Her condition is described as stable.

Although the HGV has been recovered the A449 junction with Station Road is still closed whilst Highways assess the damage caused to the central barrier.

Although this is a few miles away from Tamworth, some of our readers will commute long this road on a regular basis and so may have been in the area at the time or seen the vehicles involved ealier along their route.

If you witnessed the collision or have any information that could assist our investigation please contact us on101 quoting incident 681 of 15 January.

Our thougths are with all involved in this incident.

Politics and Representatives Video Series

TAMWORTH Informed are very pleased to bring you the next 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 a Councillor and the role of a Member of Parliament here.


In the video below, we speak to Mr Humphrey Scott-Moncriff DL, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire

In the next video, Edna speaks to Mr Ian Dudson CBE KStJ, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire.

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

Mercian Parade

ON SATURDAY (13 January), soldiers of The Mercian Regiment paraded through the City of Lichfield, in one of a number of events to mark the 10-year anniversary of the regiment’s formation.

Saturday’s event was also in order for the former colours of the 3rd Battalion, Mercian Regiment, to he ‘laid up’ in the Cathedral after the battalion was disbanded back in 2014.

Exercising the Mercian Regiment’s freedom of the city, the soldiers marched with colours flying, led by The Band of the Mercian Regiment, and the new Regimental Mascot, Private Derby XXXII, a Swaledale Ram, for whom this was his first parade.

Also taking part in the parade were veterans from the Mercian Regiment Association and the antecedent regiments, including the Staffordshire Regiment Association, and also Army Cadets from affiliated cadet units.

During the parade, the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Williams took the salute outside the Guildhall.  Below, you can see him speaking to Edna about the day.

The Colour Party carried the colours of the former 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (The Staffords), disbanded in 2014 as part of the Army 2020 restructuring plans and following the parade, a service was held in the Cathedral during which the Colours were ‘laid up’.

Below you can see the march past of the Mercian Regiment and others who took part in the parade.

Although this event was at Lichfield, Tamworth Informed were keen to cover the event as the Mercian Regiment is very much seen as being Tamworth’s regiment.

Staffordshire provides a large number of personnel to the Mercian Regiment and of course, with Tamworth being the ancient capital of Mercia, it really does hold a place in our hearts. Even more so for our cameraman, who himself, has served in the Staffordshire Regiment.

Below you can see the Colors of the 3rd Battalion in their final salute.

The Mercian Regiment

The Mercian Regiment was formed on 1 September 2007 at a parade held in the Tamworth Castle grounds. It was formed from the three antecedent regiments: the Cheshire Regiment, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment; and the Staffordshire Regiment.

Known as ‘the Heart of England’s Infantry’, the Mercian Regiment is one of the most decorated and operationally experienced regiments in the British Army.

3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment: The Staffords

The Staffords as a regiment continued until 2007 when they merged with the Cheshire Regiment, the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and West Midlands TA regiments to form the 3rd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment. An armoured Infantry Battalion, part of 7th Armoured Brigade, based in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.

Since it’s formation the 3rd Battalion has served with distinction in Afghanistan. The Mercian Regiment has spent more than two-and-a-half years in Afghanistan. The Regular Battalions have served on Op HERRICK 6, 10, 12, 14 and 15 and the TA Battalion has deployed the highest number of territorial soldiers in the British Army.

By 2014 the men had merged into the 1st (Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters) and 2nd (Cheshire) Battalions.

You can read more about the history of the Stafford’s here.

Below you can see Edna talking to Colonel Richard Spibe, former Commander of the 3rd Batallion, Mercian Regiment.

Further videos

Watchman V and his handler Greg.

Staffords Regimental Assn Chairman on the laying up of the 3Bn Mercian (The Stafford’s) Colours.

Farewell to the Colours.

 

 

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.

Palace of Westminster from across the Thames

HELLO and welcome to my first View from the House of 2018 for Tamworth Informed.

It was a busy start to the year with the Prime Minister calling a reshuffle of her Cabinet and ministers on Monday morning. Although there were only a few movements at Secretary of State-level, the most interesting changes were at Minister-level where a number of more recently elected MPs were brought in. The team is fresh, excited and full of positive ideas.  I personally think this is an exciting development and I’ll be watching what my colleagues are able to achieve.

I was also delighted to return to the Whips’ Office and have become Deputy Chief Whip. My job will be to help the Chief Whip ensure that legislation passes through Parliament as smoothly as possible and that the day-to-day business of the Government continues as usual.

The Whips’ Office has seldom been busier than at present in this political climate, which means it is a very exciting time to be involved. Coming forward in the next few months will be a series of key pieces of legislation which Parliament must pass and be made into law if we are to secure a Brexit which is in the country’s interest.

However, Brexit will not just be the only agenda item of the Government for this year. The Prime Minister has already made her intentions clear that the environment will be a top priority. She has announced a number of proposals already, such as rolling out carrier bag charges to smaller businesses, discouraging single-use plastics, encouraging supermarkets to implement a ‘non-plastic’ aisle, and investigating a ‘latte levy’ of a charge on non-recyclable coffee cups. This is all vital work to leave the environment in a better place than that which we found it. And it will contribute to making Tamworth all the more green and clean.  All of these changes can only occur however if legislation is in place; which is where the Whips’ Office comes in to ensure it is passed.

All the change in Westminster, however, does not stop me working hard to represent those living in Tamworth and the surrounding areas. As 2018 progresses, I want to continue working to understand mental health provision in the area and how it may be improved. I also want to work to ensure that the rollout of Universal Credit, which has been so prominent in the national media, is effective and smooth in Tamworth. The initial noises are that it has been successful, however, I soon have a meeting with the Job Centre to go over the detail and make sure it will continue to work for everyone.

There will likely be some changes to the funding for our schools also this year. The new formula which the Government has suggested it will introduce will mean that the average funding for schools in Tamworth will raise just under 4% per year.

In the meantime, if you have any concerns I’m always available via my email address [email protected].

Best wishes,

Chris

Role of an MP

In our exclusive video interview, you can learn more about the role of an MP.

 

Matalan at ventura park

TAMWORTH’S Matalan store is no longer closing its doors for a number of months whilst the expansion to the retail unit takes place to the store.

Planning permission was granted last year for an extension to the side of the store and the introduction of a mezzanine floor, meaning that the retail floor space will be spread across both the ground floor and first floor.

Whilst it was originally suggested that the store was to close for a period of up to nine months whilst the expansion took place, it has now been confirmed that they have no intentions to close the store in the foreseeable future.

In a statement, the company has said that they are still discussing options as part of the landlord’s plans to redevelop the retail park and that the exact location and format of the newly refurbished Matalan store has not yet been confirmed.

The question now is whether Matalan is to move into another store prior to the existing store expansion, making way for another big name in its place in the expanded store.

The plans for the store expansion are, after all, part of wider plans for a face-lift and modernisation of Ventura Retail Park.

Tamworth Informed first reported on the plans in January last year when the application was submitted to the planning department at Tamworth Borough Council.

Further Developments

Permission has been granted for the units on that phase of the Park to have new cladding to the outside and to modernise the look. The units look will be sticking to the appearance of Next. The plans show that the new frontages of the stores will be predominantly glazed and use new, modern materials.

In addition, units 2, 5 and 6; currently occupied by Halfords, Mothercare and the existing Toys ‘R Us are to have Mezzanine floors installed.  In the case of Halfords, extended.

The car park will also see a facelift, with extra spaces added and an improved access road; moving the main road away from the front of the stores to increase safety to pedestrians.  An additional 146 parking spaces will be created.

An artists impression of the new look stores.

An artists impression of the new look stores.

The planning statement which was prepared by the developers at the time of application stated that the whole development would bring significant economic benefit to Tamworth with the creation of around 66 jobs based on the additional floor space and the assumption of one full-time employee per 90m of floor space.  This could add around £2.5 million to the local economy.

It is hoped by developers that the plans will ensure the major retails brands remain in Tamworth for years to come, securing existing employment.

A reminder that this work is being funded by a private company, J.B. Auctott, and not Tamworth Borough Council.  The proposals, securing employment and big names is surely a good thing for the town!

Yes, as residents, we would love investments from big names in the Town Centre, but we cannot force the hands of the big names, they choose where they want to do business.

What do you think of the plans?

The planned parking layout

The planned parking layout

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.

 

School sign

TIME is running out for parents to get their primary school applications in before the 15 January 2018 deadline.

Last year, the county council offered nine out of 10 parents their first choice primary school, despite rises in pupil numbers putting pressure on school places.  A total of 98 percent were allocated one of their top three preferred schools.

Now, parents who have not yet applied for primary school places are being urged to get their applications in before the window closes in less than a weeks’ time.

County Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Support Member for Learning and Skills said:  “In Staffordshire, we have a fantastic track record of allocating parents’ preferences for both primary and secondary schools.  Even so, we need parents to help us by getting their applications in as soon as possible.

“The majority of parents have already submitted their applications, but we want to make sure that as many parents as possible apply before the closing date, so they are not at a disadvantage when it comes to allocating places.

“With rising birth rates and new housing developments getting underway across the county, there is pressure on school places.  We are well placed to cope with this extra demand as we have an extensive school building and expansion programme in place, ensuring schools have enough capacity to cope with increasing demand, and parents still have a choice when it comes to their child’s education.”

Primary school applications close on 15 January 2018.  For more information, visitwww.staffordshire.gov.uk/admissions.

 

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service crest

STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to keep warm safely after a fire investigation found an open fire was involved in the incident where a woman sadly died in Withington.

The Service was called to Withington Lane, close to Uttoxeter, on January 9 at 8.08am and firefighters wore breathing apparatus and used a hose reel jet to put out the fire. Sadly the 85-year-old already passed away and her dog had also died in the blaze.

Fire Investigation Officer Brian Griffiths said: “This was a really tragic accident which sadly saw a woman lose her life and our thoughts are with the lady’s friends and family at this difficult time.

“A fire investigation has found the woman was trying to light an open fire with a match when her clothes set alight. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of open fires and to keep warm safely. This woman was elderly which is highlighted in our SAME campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness that Smoking Alcohol Mobility issues and being Elderly make people more vulnerable to dying in a fire in their home.

“If you know of someone who is vulnerable or elderly that haven’t received a free Safe and Well visit from us please get in touch with our Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999. We are also keen to hear from those people who may have received a Safe and Well visit previously but whose circumstances, such as medical conditions, have changed since we last came around.”

Crews tackle the fire in Withington

For information about smoke alarms and staying safe and well in your home, ring the Service’s Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk

At Tamworth Informed, our thoughts are with the ladies family and friends, along with those that attended the tragic incident.

Jess Rees

BEING a lawyer and a business consultant are amongst the dreams being realised by two former children in care thanks to their foster families.

The duo are now urging more Staffordshire families to come forward to help children in care achieve their potential.

Jess Rees and Marvin Campbell have joined Staffordshire County Council’s latest campaign to highlight the positive difference that foster families are having on children’s lives.

19-year-old Jess who is currently studying law at university said: “My foster carers were great and supported me throughout my teenage years. They encouraged me to work hard at school and in life in general and to take part in as many activities as I could. I’m now at uni studying law, which I love. I want to be a Barrister one day but I probably wouldn’t have got this far if it wasn’t for them.”

Marvin, from Lichfield is now a management consultant and added: “Lots of children in care will have had a tough start to their lives, so making sure they are loved and encouraged is vital if they are to flourish and realise their dreams and do well in life. I wasn’t the easiest child and I spent many years myself in care with lots of different Foster families but all children in care want is a normal family life.

I would definitely encourage people to consider being a foster carer and it’s something I’m already thinking about doing myself in the future. The difference you could make is amazing.”

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council explained that the authority needs to recruit around 60 foster families over the next year.

Mark said: “We are always looking for foster families to come forward and when you hear about the amazing difference that fostering can make to a young person’s life, you’ll see why it’s such a wonderful thing to do.

“All sorts of people from all walks of life can and do foster and our latest ‘Foster a Spark’ campaign aims to encourage more people to come forward.  People who want to foster simply need to care about children, have a spare room, good communication skills and be up for a challenge.  If this sounds like you and you’re looking to make a difference in 2018 then please get in touch.”

Emma Howitt from Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service and Marvin Campbell

Emma Howitt from Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service and Marvin Campbell

Foster carer Kelly Hyden started fostering when she was 23 years old and has looked after over 60 children.  Kelly said: “Fostering is the best thing we have ever done.  Seeing the small differences we make in the children we care for every day is amazing.

“There is often a stigma attached to looked after children and people think the children are hard to care for and misbehave. We have cared for 66 children, mainly teenagers and while they have their challenges, they are the most polite, caring, loving individuals we have ever met.  I’d definitely urge people to consider fostering and take that first step.”

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at www.care4child.org or by calling 0800 169 2061. People can also attend one of the following information meetings with a chance to meet real foster carers:

  • Thursday 18 January,7pm, Burton Town Hall, Burton
  • Wednesday 31 January, 7pm, Staffordshire Place 1, Tippling Street Stafford
  • Tuesday 6 February, 7pm, Holiday Inn, Junction 15, Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme.
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