Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Pancake Warning

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take care when cooking their pancakes tomorrow for Shrove Tuesday.

More than half of accidental house fires are caused by accidents in the kitchen. Station Manager, Brian Griffiths said

Shrove Tuesday means fun in the kitchen for adults and children alike however the novelty and excitement of making pancakes often makes people less cautious with their cooking.

A common scenario involves families tucking into their delicious freshly made pancakes, forgetting that they have left their frying pan on the hob, burning away. If this does happen to you and the pan catches fire, switch off the heat, if it is safe to do so. Then get out, closing the door behind you and call 999.

We would urge people to check that they have turned appliances off when they have finished using them and never leave cooking unattended – stay in the kitchen until you are finished and then switch off the appliance you have used.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is launching its annual cooking campaign this month to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving cooking unattended. The campaign is supported by hard-hitting posters bearing the message ‘Look When You Cook.’

Ian Dudson appointed as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire

The Queen has been pleased to appoint Ian Dudson as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire to succeed Sir James Hawley when he retires on 28 March 2012.

Ian Dudson is an industrialist, whose family ceramics business has been based in Stoke-on-Trent for many generations. A recent High Sheriff, he is also a Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Keele University Council, Honorary President of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, and a former trustee of Lichfield Cathedral. He is Chair of the Trustees of The Dudson Centre, which acts as a resource centre for voluntary groups.He was also a founding member of the local Enterprise Partnership Board. He has served as a Deputy Lieutenant for the last decade and was awarded a CBE for services to the ceramics industry in 2002.

Ian lives near Stoke-on-Trent with his wife, Jane, and has two daughters.

Speaking about his appointment, Mr. Dudson said

I am deeply honoured to have been appointed as Her Majesty The Queen’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire. I look forward to representing The Queen in the County of Staffordshire and in the City of Stoke-on-Trent

The modern responsibilities of Lord-Lieutenants include representing The Queen in the County, arranging visits of members of the Royal family, advising on honours nominations, promoting Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service and also Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and participating in civic, voluntary and social activities.

Sir James Hawley was appointed Lord-Lieutenant in 1993 and became a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in The Queen’s birthday honours in 2010. Sir James said

I am delighted that Ian Dudson is to be the next Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire. I am sure that Ian will represent The Queen in the County well, he is an active member of the community and has an extensive knowledge of the local commercial sector.

Staffordshire County Council Chief Executive and Clerk to the Lieutenancy Nick Bell said, 

We are delighted that Ian Dudson is to succeed Sir James Hawley, he will be an excellent ambassador for the County

Protest Against Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cuts

North Staffs Against Cuts (NSAC) are calling a protest against the Stoke-on-Trent council budget cuts on Thursday 23rd February 2012 outside the council chamber on Kingsway, Stoke, starting at 1645.

NSAC strongly oppose the £24m cuts the council are pushing through this year. This second round of cuts will affect all sections of the community: children, pensioners, disabled people and council workers. Last year saw the closure of two local swimming pools, childrens’ centres, libraries alongside huge budget cuts to hundreds of other services. This year’s budget includes unfair contract changes to refuse workers, closure of a recently-built specialist dementia care home, closure of the Wedgwood College and the sacking of three hundred council workers.

Jason Hill, president of North Staffs Trades Union Council (NSTUC) says

The council says they are mandated to cut services in the city because of the Tory government policy. The people of Stoke-on-Trent did not vote for these cuts nor did we elect councillors to cut vital services, such as youth centres and nursing homes. We believe the council should refuse to make any budget cuts and fight to defend the services and people of Stoke-on-Trent against the savage Tory cuts agenda.

NSAC encourage all individuals and organisations that are against the cuts to come along to the protest, bring their banners and placards and show their opposition to the devastating slashing of services that will affect the city for many years to come.

Collection For Ruby Owen At The Britannia Stadium Tonight

Family and friends of four-year-old Ruby Owen from Kidsgrove are asking
Stoke City supporters attending Thursday’s Europa Cup match to help their
appeal to pay for life-saving cancer treatment in the United States.

Fundraising has been taking place across the City since the Owen family told
people the devastating news that Ruby’s cancer had returned, 18 months
after undergoing Proton Therapy Treatment in Indiana.

Upon hearing the news, local logistics company, Barry Proctor Services
Limited based in Talke stepped in to make arrangements for a collection in
aid of Ruby at the Stoke City match at The Britannia on Thursday 16th

And now a team of fundraisers, known as “ËœRuby’s Army’ will be
collecting around the ground before the match and are calling for fans to
give whatever they can for this potentially life-saving treatment.

Stoke-based charity, Caudwell Children, are helping co-ordinate the
fundraising campaign. Chief Executive, Trudi Beswick, said: “It is great to
see such wide-spread support for little Ruby’s campaign. It is thanks to
Barry Proctor and Stoke City that we have this opportunity to boost the
appeal but we really need all the Potters fans to raid their piggy banks and
give whatever they can.

There is only a very limited time period that this treatment is available to
little Ruby so it is crucial we raise the money they need as quickly as

Ruby’s Army will be collecting outside of the ground from 6:30pm on
Thursday night.

Anyone interesting in supporting Ruby’s appeal is asked to visit or contact Ben Sutcliffe at Caudwell Children on
01782 600114.

Stoke-On-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council sign to support business growth

Stoke-On-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council have committed to support businesses through the planning process in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by signing a Planning Charter Mark to commit to support businesses through the planning process.
The charter was signed infront of more than 130 business representatives at the New Vic yesterday. The event organised by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP was fully booked and saw all local authorities in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area sign up to the charter.
Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-On-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said
The city council is committed to helping to support existing businesses and encourage new investment in the region. The charter is the council’s pledge to help businesses flourish by providing a red carpet service to guide firms through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.

The charter which aims to make development in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire flourish will focus on five main areas

  • clarity and consistency
  • effort and focus
  • competence and respect
  • accuracy and fairness
  • dialogue and understanding

to create clear advice for businesses looking to expand or develop.

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Enterprise, said
This valuable and unique Planning Charter Mark is part of the red carpet that authorities are rolling out to businesses looking to grow and thrive across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire. The pledge demonstrates that pace, professionalism and good customer service underpin our planning processes and help us to all play our part in delivering jobs, growth and sustainable developments. This business friendly approach is one of the reasons that big names are investing in the area
Stephen Dixon, LEP board member and managing director of Johnson Tiles, was also be joined by fellow board member Sue Prince and founder of Beechenhill Rural Enterprise to talk about the work so far of the LEP and the support the partnership can provide.
As part of the commitment all of the councils are signing up to have their planning policies reviewed annually to check whether they fulfil the criteria and can keep the charter mark.
Sara Williams, North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the move was welcomed by businesses saying,
Businesses will welcome anything that makes the planning process easier and quicker. Enabling business to concentrate on growing and creating jobs, not bureaucracy, is something we all want to see.
Maitland Hyslop, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is committed to supporting businesses to grow and welcomes any move which helps to increase investment in the region. The key to this charter is the fact that all of the local authorities have joined together to pledge their commitment making Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the place to invest.

City Apprenticeships Up Almost 25%

Stoke-on-Trent City Council are reporting record apprentice figures for young people saying that apprenticeships have grown by nearly 25 per cent in the last year.

All of the apprentices supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council will be at The Bridge Centre, in Birches Head, today to celebrate the team’s success.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-On-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said

This is fantastic news for the city. The city council is committed to helping young people develop their potential. Apprenticeships give young people the chance to get on the job training with the opportunity of a long term placement at the end of the training. This year has seen record numbers of successes and we are looking forward to the program going from strength to strength in the summer as the new placements become available.

This year Stoke-On-Trent City Council has supported 77 young people through apprenticeship placements in the city compared to an average of 60 for past years. Placements range from sports development to childcare with Stoke-on-Trent City Council directly supporting 63 placements as well as supporting recruitment for external posts in companies including Brazilian Soccer Schools, 21st Century Gym, Stafford Borough Council, Stoke City Football Club and Tamworth Borough Council.

The city council, through organisations such as Learn4work and JET, work with young people and businesses in the city to match budding young workers with suitable placements.

Apprenticeships not only provide businesses with the opportunity to develop their staff of the future but give young people the opportunity to get real on the job training. New opportunities for apprenticeships are due to become available on Friday 1 June.

Jake King, has been studying an apprenticeship in exercise and fitness for the past three years, which is helping him to realise his dream of becoming a personal trainer. He said

The program is helping me achieve my aspirations and I am gaining a lot of qualifications and experiences.

In total Learn4work, the city council’s apprenticeship team, has directly supported 47 new apprenticeship in the council. A further 14 have been directly supported via training in external placements. In addition the city council also has 12 apprentices studying play and learning in Children’s Centres, two studying horticulture at Burslem Park and two working within the city council’s highways team.

Please help to Support the Ruby Owen fund raising

Four-year-old Ruby desperately needs your help.

Ruby Owen Appeal

This week Ruby’s family received the devastating news that Ruby’s cancer has returned and the only course of treatment to save her young life is to return to America for Proton Therapy.
Over 18months ago Ruby Owen from Stoke-on-Trent underwent Proton Treatment Therapy in the United States to try and remove an aggressive form of cancer on her brain.
The treatment was a success and Ruby survived, returning home to her family in the UK in August 2010; but this week the Owen family received the news they had feared the most, that the Cancer had returned.
And now, 4-year-old Ruby faces another desperate fight for life after Doctors told the family that treatment in the UK could not save her life.
The only feasible option for Ruby is to return to the United States and undergo another course of Proton Therapy at the Proton Therapy Centre in Indiana.
Thanks to the generosity and support of the public during Ruby’s first appeal, there is still approximately £58,000 of funds held in a restricted account for Ruby’s treatment – but we need your help to raise the rest of the estimated £120,000 required to pay for the treatment in America.
Any donation is gratefully received.
For more information or to discuss ways in which you could possibly help save Ruby’s life, please contact Ben Sutcliffe at Caudwell Children on 01782 600114 or email
Important note to donors: As long as Ruby requires the funds raised to pay for treatment in the United States, Caudwell Children will manage all payments of funds for the family. Should there come a time, for whatever reason, that Ruby no longer requires the funds raised for costs associated to medical treatment in America then the monies raised will be used to provide similar donations to sick and disabled children living within the UK through the charity, Caudwell Children.

Bid for a share of £1m for your high street and become a Portas Pilot

Towns and cities across the UK are being given the opportunity to bid for a share of a £1million funding pot to help them to turn arond their unloved and unused High Streets. Stoke-on-Trent with its six towns has more than enough unloved High Streets to choose from to put bids in against.

Mary Portas and Grant Shapps the Local Government Minister have launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become ‘Portas Pilots’ and bid for up to £100,000 to help them. The cash has offered as an incentive to those towns that come up with the best High Street blueprints in a move that fulfils the first and last recommendations of Mary Portas’ High Streets Review, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published before Christmas.

Speaking on Friday Grant Shapps said:

Our high streets have faced stiff competition from Internet shopping, and out-of-town shopping centres – leaving them underused, unloved and under-valued. The Internet is not going to go away, and so for our high streets to survive they need to offer something new and exciting.

So today I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become ‘Portas Pilots’ – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.

Taking forward the first recommendation from Mary Portas’s review, the 12 successful localities will create Town Teams, made up of the key players in their local community – such as the council, local landlords, shopkeepers and the local MP.

These teams will then benefit from the backing of the Minister, Whitehall and Mary Portas herself as they take forward the recommendations from the review and in their area. They will also receive a share of £1 million.

Mary Portas said

I am thrilled that now there is an opportunity to turn my recommendations into reality by giving communities across the country the opportunity to come forward with their vision for breathing new life into their locality. I hope my Review has inspired people with another vision of tomorrow where our high streets are re-imagined as destinations for socializing, culture, well being, learning as well as shopping. I want the first twelve Town Teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community. A place we all want to be and can be proud of.

Successful bidders will need to demonstrate how they have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to their town centres and make them the hubs of their communities.

Energy & enthusiasm is something that, dispite the best efforts of the council with their poorly implimented regeneration plans, Stoke-on-Trent still has lots of, this along with the creative flair  will be ideal when areas are asked to demonstrate how they plan to breathe new life into their high streets and shopping parades, but not just in a standard application form – Mr Shapps would also like to see their pitches to become Portas Pilots in short YouTube clips.

Use the links below to read more about how to bid to become one of the Portas Pilots.

Unesco Condem Wedgwood Museum Closure

David Dawson the head of the Unesco Committee which listed the Wedgwood Museum on the Memory of the World Register has condemned the High Court ruling that means the collection has to be sold to fund a black hole in the Wedgwood pension fund.

Speaking to the Guardian on Sunday he described the collection as one of the most complete ceramic manufacturing archives in the world.

and said

The nation cannot afford the loss of this piece of its heritage, he said. The Wedgwood collection was selected as one of just 20 items on the register, along with objects such as the Bill of Rights and a copy of King Charles I’s death warrant.

 You can read the full Wedgwood Museum Closure Condemmed By Unesco on The Guardian website.


Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council To Create Joint Investment Team

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council are funding a joint inward investment service with the aim of attracting in excess of 10,000 jobs over the next three to five years.

The service, which is launching a new website outlining the city and county offer, is aimed at attracting investment and assisting existing major companies to expand in the region.

The Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Investment Development Team will operate across the city and county and will incorporate the existing inward investment support in both areas.

The service aims to introduce innovative ways of marketing Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to potential investors. The team will target companies in growth sectors in which Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have a key selling point such as advanced manufacturing and medical technologies.

The move has been backed by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and is supported through a program of European Funding.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said

The Mandate for Change is dedicated to supporting existing businesses and encouraging investment opportunities. By working together we will be able to maximise resources in order to promote Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as open for business. The team will be focusing on key growth sectors to target investment and provide a red carpet service to potential investors.

The team, which will have an office in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, will see both councils working side by side to target and drive investment in the region. It will be responsible for

  • marketing Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire
  • supporting companies considering relocating or expanding to the area
  • de-risking the investment process for companies committed to investing in the area

Maitland Hyslop, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is a prime location for investment and it is important that we work together to maximise this potential. I look forward to supporting the team in their delivery of a prestigious red carpet service for the region.


Staffordshire County Councillor Ben Adams, cabinet member for economic growth and enterprise, said

Creating jobs and prosperity for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in this tough economic climate must be – and is – our top priority.

Staffordshire has a brilliant offer in terms of its support, environment and skills and our work across the regions is already paying off, which is why world-class companies such as Amazon and Jaguar land Rover have chosen Staffordshire for major operations.  

But in a highly competitive global market we have to make the most of our potential. Through this new service, and by working in partnership across the region, we are better placed than ever to bring thousands of jobs to the county and city.


The service will be a one stop shop for businesses looking to grow or relocate to the region and will provide a red carpet service to make every step of the process as easy as possible. The service aims to build on the success for 2011 whereby Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire created in excess of 2,000 new jobs through inward investment.   

More information on the team is available at or by calling the team’s one number on 0300 111 8005.