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YOUNG people are being given the chance to improve health and social care services in Tamworth.

Young People’s Healthwatch is a new initiative that will gather the views and experiences of under-25s and ensure they have a voice on issues that affect them.

It has been developed by watchdog Healthwatch Staffordshire in partnership with fellow community interest company Sporting Communities.

And they’re keen to ensure work of the programme, launched ahead of National Volunteers Week (June 1-7), is led by young people themselves.

Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, said: “Children and young people face a range of disadvantages and inequalities just like the rest of society and their problems are often significant and complex.

“Health and social care needs to work effectively for them and, if there’s anything that needs to be improved, we need to know about it.

“Young People’s Healthwatch will provide a platform to find out what young people think about services in their area and, by listening to their views, we can better understand the issues and barriers they face.

“The feedback will be used to make services more suitable and accessible for young people as well as reducing the resources spent on those that are not meeting their needs.

“It will also reveal patterns and trends which can identify areas that need to be addressed.”

The initiative will deliver a raft of practical benefits too, according to Ms Sensier.

She added: “It will act as a central hub delivering vital information, support and advice to help young people in their day-to-day lives.

“We know from past experience that under-25s experience issues specific to their age group and that it’s sometimes difficult for them to find out what to do or where to go.

“Now they’ll have direct access to that information and could also learn new skills through our training programme.”

Input from young people themselves is regarded as crucial to ensure the work of Young People’s Healthwatch is relevant.

Volunteers could become young ambassadors – to help spread the word about Healthwatch and represent the organisation at local events – or mystery shoppers, who go undercover to gather feedback about health and social care services.

They could also be ‘media gurus’ – charged with developing social media and other advertising resources aimed at young people – or researchers.

Ms Sensier said: “We want Young People’s Healthwatch to focus on issues that are most important to this particular age group so we’re looking for under-25s to make a genuine contribution towards improving life for themselves and their peers.

“Volunteers can come from any walk of life – the only criteria they need is to have an interest in the delivery of health and social care in their area.

“It’s a chance to make a difference to the community, meet new people, enhance skills and knowledge and access training and support. It can also add valuable experience to a CV and volunteers only give as much time as they can.

“Only by working together can we hope to ensure the services and support available is the best it can be.”

For more information, go to www.healthwatchstaffordshire.co.uk/young-peoples-healthwatch

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.

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.

Staffordshire Police Insignia in Tamworth

TWO men were arrested after a police pursuit ended in a three-vehicle crash close to Tamworth Town Centre.

A number of police cars, two of which were un-marked, an Ambulance and a TAME community first responder attended the incident at the ‘bell corner’ junction shortly after midnight in to the early hours of Sunday morning, 21 May.

A red Seat Leon failed to stop for a Police vehicle and sped away from officers before crashing in to a member of the public at the popular junction.

After the collision, a male was seen to run away from the scene and a short foot chase ensued, with the male being detained a short distance away.

Witnesses say that they saw a second man being held down on the floor, next to where the collision occurred.

A witness told Tamworth Informed: “I was in the BP garage when I heard a loud bang, I went outside and it was like something you see on TV.  A red car was sideways across the road and a small blue car had lots of damage to it’s front. There was another car, a small red one which looked damaged. I could see that there was an undercover police car with lights flashing and the siren going.  This didn’t appear to be damaged.

“Other police cars and an ambulance car arrived – there was lots of people about.  I hadn’t really seen anything like it before.”

As well as damage to the Seat Leon, two other vehicles could be seen to have been damaged.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “Two men were arrested following a vehicle pursuit in Tamworth in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“A red Seat Leon, failed to stop at around shortly after midnight in the Upper Gungate area of Tamworth and a pursuit followed. The vehicle was abandoned but the two men were quickly arrested.

“Two other vehicles were damaged during the pursuit. Fortunately, there was no serious injuries reported.

“The men aged 23 and 28 are both from Tamworth. The 23-year-old was released under investigation and the 28-year-old was released without further action.”

Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

 

Watling Street collision

OFFICERS are investigating a collision which happened on the A5 Watling Street near Higham on the Hill, Nuneaton, on Sunday 14 May, that sadly resulted in the death of local man Connor Elund.

A statement issued on behalf of the family reads: “It is with great sadness that the family announce the death of Connor Elund, aged 22, on Saturday 20 May in the critical Care Unit at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, six days after a tragic accident on the A5 in Nuneaton.”

The incident happened outside the entrance to The King’s Lodge around 11.15am when the silver Renault Clio Connor was driving in the direction of Hinckley was involved in a collision with a red Ford Focus and red Vauxhall Astra.

The driver of the red Focus that was travelling north towards Atherstone, a man in his 40’s, was taken to hospital with hip and chest pain and later discharged.

Police would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision itself and anyone who may have seen the vehicles involved and the manner in which they were being driven prior to the collision.

If you have any information, please call Warwickshire Police on 101 and quote incident number 153 of 14 May.

We ask that people respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.  Our thoughts are with all involved.

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.

LADY JUSTICE STATUE

A MAN has been jailed for 12 months for dangerous driving on the A5 in Fazeley, in 2015.

Steven Porton, aged 29, of Boulevard Walk in Walsall, was convicted of dangerous driving.

This follows a fatal road traffic collision near to Ventura Retail Park, just before 3.12pm on Friday 20 November 2015.

The collision involved two motorcycles and resulted in the death of Philip Gray, aged 37, from the Oldbury area of the West Midlands.

Porton was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court this week (19 May).

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison; a three-and-a-half year driving ban and will have to take an extended retest.

A detailed investigation into the circumstances of the collision was carried out by the the regional Collision Investigation Unit.



firefighter recruitment

STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are set to recruit wholetime firefighters for the first time in eight years.

Applications open on Thursday June 1 and close on Sunday June 11. A thorough paper sift will take place to select those that demonstrate the skills required to be a firefighter.

As part of the recruitment drive the Service is hosting a series of recruitment events at fire stations around the county. These events give those who are interested in a career with the Service an opportunity to find out more about the role.

SFRS is set to select 16 suitable candidates to embark on an intensive initial firefighter training course planned to begin later this year.

The campaign #YouCanToo aims to encourage applications from people from all areas of our communities and encourages those who may not necessarily consider themselves suitable for a firefighting career to apply as the role of a firefighter has significantly changed in recent years.

The Service wants to focus on breaking down common stereotypes about who can be a firefighter and the campaign will feature faces of several existing firefighters to show that #YouCanToo.

Tim Chan, Hanley firefighter

With over 90 per cent of the role focused on education, prevention and training work, the Service wants to attract applications from people with a caring and compassionate nature who really want to make a difference in their communities.

A modern firefighter’s role includes the following:

  • engaging and educating people of all ages to help them to stay safe and well
  • saving and preserving endangered life and providing treatment to casualties
  • advising on fire, home and business safety solutions to minimise danger to the community
  • working as part of a team
  • protecting the environment.

While the bulk of the role isn’t physically demanding, candidates will need to be physically fit in order to perform the operational side of the job. At times they will be required to work in very challenging conditions.


READ MORE: Tamworth firefighter commended for saving lives


Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber said: “There is a stereotypical image of a firefighter which we really want to challenge and change.

“We’re really lucky to have a diverse community in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and we want our service to reflect the communities they serve.

“You don’t have to look a certain way to be a firefighter – as long as you are driven, determined and passionate about doing the best for your community then you’re exactly what we’re looking for.

“There is much more to the role of a firefighter than the common perception of racing to burning buildings or road traffic collisions. We strongly believe that preventing fires and emergencies from happening is far better than responding when things go wrong.

“Today a firefighter’s average working day involves spending more time on community safety and engagement, education, partnership working, and helping businesses recover after a fire, than responding when things have gone wrong.

“Our firefighters come from many different backgrounds and the #YouCanToo campaign is about dispelling the traditional firefighter stereotype.

“It’s important that applicants understand that our recruitment is all encompassing –each applicant will be considered based on their skills and experience. So if you want a rewarding and challenging career, get your application in! Good luck!”

Joanne Rawlinson, Sandyford firefighter

For more information please visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/careers

The Service will be accepting applications from June 1, 2017. To apply please visit www.wmjobs.co.uk(opens in a new window)

We welcome applications from outside of Staffordshire, including firefighters from other fire and rescue services. To apply you must be 18 years old or over.

Recruitment events to be held as follows:

  • 10am-1pm Monday May 22 at Newcastle-under-Lyme Fire Station
  • 3-7pm Monday May 22 at Tamworth Belgrave Fire Station
  • 3-7pm Wednesday May 24 at Hanley
  • 3-7pm Wednesday May 24 at Cannock Fire Station
  • 10am-3pm Friday May 26 May at Burton
  • 10am-3pm Friday May 26 at Stafford Fire Station
Firefighter Sharron Finch carries out a Safe and Well visit

Firefighter Sharron Finch carries out a Safe and Well visit

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.

Cllr John Chesworth

COUNCILLOR John Chesworth has been sworn in as the new Mayor of Tamworth after being unanimously voted to the role by members of Tamworth Borough Council.

The Spital ward councillor has supported outgoing Mayor Cllr Ken Norchi as Deputy Mayor over the last 12 months and is now looking forward to serving as first citizen of the borough.

The Mayoral chain was handed over during a traditional ceremony at the council’s annual meeting, which takes place at Tamworth Town Hall at the start of each new civic year.

Nominating Cllr Chesworth to the role of Mayor, Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “Cllr John Chesworth, as we all know, comes from a legacy of family members who have served this town with distinction and I know he will continue to do that during his year as Mayor. We have had a great year and Cllr Norchi has represented this town well.”

The evening marked the end of a significant Mayoral term with Cllr Norchi as councillors broke with years of tradition to vote a member from the opposition group to the role rather than from the controlling group.

In recognition of this decision, no alternative nominations for Mayor were put forward by the opposition group and the motion was seconded by Opposition Leader Cllr Simon Peaple, who said Cllr Chesworth will make ‘an excellent Mayor’.

Cllr Chesworth has represented the Spital ward since being elected in 2014. His Mayoress for the year will be his wife, Mrs Tereasa Chesworth.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mrs Tereasa Chesworth

Cllr John Chesworth and Mrs Tereasa Chesworth

 

After being sworn in as Mayor, Cllr Chesworth said: “I would like to thank members who voted for me. What a great year we had with Ken. It was a pleasure working with him and it’s fair to say we got to know him pretty well and I now count him among my friends. He has done a lot of work for Tamworth people and he did the job really well.”

During his year in office Cllr Norchi attended more than 200 events and functions and raised more than £8,000 for local good causes. Most of the money will go to his chosen charity for the year, Spoken, which provides a support network for the parents and carers of children with special needs in Tamworth.

It is a cause close to his heart as his 11-year-old grandson is autistic, and Cllr Norchi is delighted to have raised both money and awareness for the organisation.

He held a number of fundraising events throughout the year, including discos, a curry night, a skittles night and a DJ extravaganza.

Cllr Norchi said: “I have had a fantastic year. It has been a very interesting, very eventful and fabulous year for us all and we have met some marvellous people.

I think I got to know more about Tamworth and its people and organisations in the last year than I have in the rest of my 65 years put together.

“I am delighted to have raised more than £8,000 for charity, and particularly for Spoken.

“I hope we have achieved something over the past 12 months by bringing people together and trying to put Tamworth right on the map where it belongs.

“I would like to wish Cllr Chesworth all the best for the coming year; we have had excellent support from both John and his wife, Tereasa.”

The outgoing Mayor also thanked his mother Mrs Jean Norchi who supported him throughout the year as Mayoress.

Cllr John Chesworth and Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter Thurgood

Cllr John Chesworth and Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter Thurgood

Cllr Peter Thurgood was unanimously voted to the role of Deputy Mayor.

Flight Sergeant Charlotte Cropper of the 1122 (Marmion) Squadron Air Training Corps was inaugurated as the Mayor’s Cadet for the forthcoming year. She will represent the young people of the town by attending certain civic duties with the Mayor.

 

Cllr Daniel Cook was re-elected to the position of Leader of Tamworth Borough Council and confirmed that there will be no changes to the Cabinet membership for the coming year.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mayor's Cadet Charlotte Cropper.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mayor’s Cadet Charlotte Cropper.

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