Stoke-on-Trent To Be Split In Boundary Shifts

Parts of Stoke-on-Trent could be merged with Newcastle-under-Lyme under government proposals change parliamentary boundary.

The review, an outcome of the 2010 election seeks to cut down the total number of MPs in the country and make more balanced constituencies.

New constituencies must be within 5% difference of the average voting population split across the constituencies, i.e. between72,810 and 80,473.

In North Staffordshire, Stoke will be losing it’s exclusive trio of city constituencies, and Staffordshire will lose one MP as constituencies are morphed together.
In the overhaul, the existing South constituency will adopt parts of Stoke and Trent Vale.

The Stoke Central constituency will include various new wards from the existing North constituency which is where the biggest changes are felt.

Tunstall, Chell and Packmoor and Burslem North will be merged with 12 Kidsgrove and Newcastle wards, in the cross-town Kidsgrove&Tunstall constituency.

The immediate reaction is that Stoke residents will be 1/5th of a constituency and so in effect won’t be voting for their City MP.

The boundary proposals are now open for discussion and for the next 12 weeks, the Boundary Commission will be accepting comments, complaints and suggestions about their proposals.

Although these merges wouldn’t directly affect council elections and services, there is a fear that Newcastle/Kidsgrove/Stoke-on-Trent could be losing their historic identities.

In a recent lecture, former Elected Mayor, Mike Wolfe said that a merge made financial sense and that it was the obvious thing to do.

Across the country, both Prime Minister David Cameron’s and Leader of the Opposition Ed Milliband’s constituencues will remain unchanged ““ 2 of only 77 MPs whose boundaries remain.

Nick Clegg’s constituency will be changed, however.

With a reduction of 50 MPs across the country, inner-party squabbling is expected to break out as politicians scramble for seats.

Below is a list of the proposed new parliamentary wards for Stoke-on-Trent.

Kidsgrove and Tunstall 75,352
Audley and Bignall End Newcastle-under-Lyme 4,694
Bradwell Newcastle-under-Lyme 4,970
Butt Lane Newcastle-under-Lyme 4,349
Chesterton Newcastle-under-Lyme 5,475
Halmerend Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,038
Holditch Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,366
Kidsgrove Newcastle-under-Lyme 5,255
Madeley Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,419
Newchapel Newcastle-under-Lyme 2,801
Porthill Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,229
Ravenscliffe Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,372
Talke Newcastle-under-Lyme 3,206
Burslem North Stoke-on-Trent 9,131
Chell and Packmoor Stoke-on-Trent 9,211
Tunstall Stoke-on-Trent 9,836

Stoke-on-Trent Central BC 79,980
Abbey Green Stoke-on-Trent 8,962
Bentilee and Townsend Stoke-on-Trent 9,008
Berryhill and Hanley East Stoke-on-Trent 7,71 7
Burslem South Stoke-on-Trent 8,730
East Valley Stoke-on-Trent 10,226
Hanley West and Shelton Stoke-on-Trent 8,434
Hartshill and Penkhull Stoke-on-Trent 9,045
Northwood and Birches Head Stoke-on-Trent 8,949
Norton and Bradeley Stoke-on-Trent 8,909

Stoke-on-Trent South 78,283
Blurton Stoke-on-Trent 9,550
Fenton Stoke-on-Trent 9,225
Longton North Stoke-on-Trent 10,660
Longton South Stoke-on-Trent 10,274
Meir Park and Sandon Stoke-on-Trent 10,082
Stoke and Trent Vale Stoke-on-Trent 9,659
Trentham and Hanford Stoke-on-Trent 9,769
Weston and Meir North Stoke-on-Trent 9,064

Tea Dance To Mark Start of London 2012 Ticket Sales

A tea dance inspired by a 2012 dance project will take place next month to mark the start of nearly nine million tickets going on sale for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The dance which forms part of Stoke-on-Trent’s London 2012 inspired project World of Dance has been organised to mark that 8.8 million tickets go on sale during March 2011 for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It is part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands.

The tea dance, featuring a wide mix of music from local band “The John Simons Band” takes place on Thursday 31 March at the Victoria Hall between 2pm and 4:30pm.

It is one of several events planned as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s World of Dance project commissioned through Dancing for the Games. Part of the West Midlands’ Culture Programme for London 2012, World of Dance uses the inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to get people dancing across Stoke-on-Trent.

Funded by the Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands, World of Dance is a three year programme of activity aimed at encouraging mass participation in dance and dance related activity across the West Midlands.

“The World of Dance project has inspired a huge number of local people of all ages, skills and abilities to make dance part of their everyday lives. We are now just over a year away from the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and it would be great if we can continue the momentum in these final stages of the preparations.”

To book one of the 200 tickets costing £3, residents should call into the Regent Theatre box office, Piccadilly, City Centre or telephone 0844 871 7649. Tea and cakes will be on sale.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s World of Dance is a dance participation project for all ages and abilities. Over three years in Stoke-on-Trent, members of the public will be encouraged to try out a range of dance art forms including Bhangra, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing and Salsa. World of Dance has been awarded the Inspire Mark which recognises innovative and exceptional projects directly inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The process to sell 8.8 million tickets for the Olympic Games starts on March 15, 2011. Anyone can apply for tickets across the 26 sports, 39 disciplines 34 competition venues across 19 days, featuring the world’s greatest athletes between 15 March and 26 April. Prices start at £20 in all sports and 90% of tickets cost less than £100. For further information see

Geologist Vicky To Analyse Hoard Garnets in Paris

Geology expert Vicky Tunstall is set to fulfil a professional “Ëœchance of a lifetime’ when she travels to Paris to analyse artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard next week.

Vicky, who works as a regional geologist at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, will join a team of international experts to carry out tests on garneted items from the seventh century treasure, to try and determine which regions of the world they are likely to have come from.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to be this close to research that is so early in its development and which will draw together different scientific strands in order to better interpret the Staffordshire Hoard for a world wide audience.

“I am honoured to represent Stoke-on-Trent Museums in the research team and to be able to use world-leading technologies to analyse these wonderful treasures.”

The research will take place at the Louvre Museum, using money from a European CHARISMA research grant. Items from the hoard will be in Paris until 3 December, and the French experts in the team have undertaken similar research work on French gold and garnet artefacts from the same time period as the hoard.

Gold and garnet artefacts will be tested using three cutting-edge non-destructive methods ““ Particle Induced X-ray Emissions (PIXE), Raman spectroscopy and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy.

“The research is a very complex process and it will take a good deal of time to analyse the results, but we hope it will provide crucial information as to the geological areas of the earth these items may have come from.”

Vicky’s role at the museum sees her travel across the West Midlands to advise and assist in caring for geological collections, particularly for museums which do not have geology specialists.

“This is a chance of a lifetime research opportunity and I am delighted that Vicky is able to apply her knowledge on such an important project.

“There is so much we simply don’t know about the Staffordshire Hoard ““ where it came from, why it was buried in Staffordshire soil, even what some of the artefacts actually are. It is a unique and stunning treasure, and we hope that by careful expert analysis we can begin to tell the story of this unparalleled collection.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has jointly acquired the Anglo-Saxon treasure with Birmingham City Council. It is valued at £3.3million ““ the most valuable treasure ever found.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise £1.7million needed to tell the story of the hoard through research, conservation and interpretation.

People can give money to support the Staffordshire Hoard via collection boxes at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, or online at

Bid For European Funding To Help People In To Jobs and Training in Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is bidding for European funding to help get people back in to work.

On Thursday, 30 September, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet is expected to approve plans to use £1.447million of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) to support the Jobs Enterprise and Training (Jet) scheme and other related employment projects in the city.

The bid is one of three European funding recommendations going before cabinet on Thursday.

The cabinet are also being asked to approve plans to bid for further European funding for the Jet scheme, which helps the long-term unemployed to get back in to work. If successful it is hoped the European Social Fund money would support the delivery of the Jet, community grants and the council’s sports skills programme for the period 2011 to 2013.

A further bid is expected to be approved to ask for a share of a £270 million ERDF pot for projects in the West Midlands. The aim is to use the money to help support projects which have had a reduction in funds due to budget savings imposed by Government.

“As a city council we have pledged to help 2,000 people secure training and help to get back into work this financial year. Jet has already helped around 1,000 long-term unemployed back into work. It is an important project which not only helps to break the cycle of unemployment but boosts the city economy by helping people to break away from the dependency for benefits. This European funding would help to support job creation programmes like Jet and help support other innovation and enterprise schemes.”

Jobs Enterprise and Training (Jet) is delivering support to the long term unemployed from community based locations across the city and in north staffordshire. Since it was launched in February 2009 the scheme has already helped around 1,000 people back into employment ““ creating an estimated saving of around £11million on unemployment benefits.

Depending on the type of help needed by customers it costs the Jet service between £1,000 and £5,000 to help someone back in to employment.

A minimal cost compared to the estimated £11,000 it costs the taxpayer a year to keep someone on incapacity benefit, including lost tax revenue.

*Only 16 per cent of adults are educated to degree level or higher, compared with 25 per cent for the West Midlands and 29 per cent for Great Britain
*12 per cent of adults, or 18,200, are claiming Incapacity Benefit

The Jet teams hope to help remove these barriers and improve skill levels in the city so that residents can benefit from the regeneration of North Staffordshire.

48 new clergy ordained to serve north-west Midlands

Lichfield Diocese hits “younger ordinands” milestone as Cathedral welcomes its first woman priest.

Two major milestones will be met during seven ordination service taking place this weekend in Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

Amongst the 48 new clergy being ordained in the Diocese of Lichfield is the Revd Nest Bateman, the non-stipendiary curate of Lichfield Cathedral. Ordained a deacon last year; when she is ordained by the Bishop of Wolverhampton tomorrow (Saturday 19th June) in Penkridge, she will become the first female priest licensed to the Cathedral, outside the prebendaries, or honorary canons. She will preside at the Sung Eucharist in the Cathedral at 10.30am on Sunday.

The second milestone is a major step to reaching the Bishop of Lichfields’ target that half of all ordinands should be under the age of 35. The 22 new deacons, being ordained in the Cathedral next weekend, include 10 non-stipendiary (volunteer) clergy and 12 stipendiary (paid) clergy. Half of the new stipendiary deacons are under 35; and the percentage of all the new deacons under 35 is 27 per cent ““ continuing the progress made in recent years towards the total 50 per cent target.

Earlier this year the diocese of Lichfield commissioned television journalist Robin Powell to produce a video report to be shown in churches to support the Bishop of Lichfield’s call for younger ordinands to come forward. Those being ordained over the next two weekends had already been selected and had begun training before that video was shown.

The video is available below and is on the diocesan website: or the diocese’s You Tube channel: The diocese also has a special website designed for young people considering ministry in the Church of England:

There are three orders of ordained ministry in the Church of England: deacon, priest and bishop. New clergy are ordained first as a deacon; ordination as a priest usually follows a year later. New stipendiary clergy will serve as a curate alongside an experienced priest for their first three or four years; as a continuation of their training. Non-stipendiary clergy will work in a variety of roles, dependent upon the needs of the parish to which they will serve.

Petertide, the period around St Peter’s Day (29th June) is a traditional time for ordinations.

Government Department to relocate to North Staffs

From Regenerate Stoke

An item that lead in a national newspaper recently made me wonder about the opportunities that present themselves to North Staffs in the search to secure new jobs to the area. Earlier this year it was reported that the Labour Government, if returned at the next General Election, would seriously consider Government departments out of London to other areas of the country. The then Minister Liam Byrne was thinking of relocating over 200,000 Civil servant and other Government agency workers out of the capital. The West Midlands has currently 32,000 permanent and temporary civil servants and could be one of the region to gain if this strategy was enacted.

Now we have the Coalition Government and I wonder whether this is still on the agenda and if the Government is thinking of this then it can point to some success.

Previous relocation’s include the movement of DVLA staff to Swansea and Senior NHS staff to Leeds and in both examples this has lead to a boost to local economies. From the Treasury point of view this is a win-win situation as their are major savings to be made in rents and salaries as well as strengthening localism.

There are suggestions that Departments such as International Development could be moved easily and it would be nice to think that functions of the Department of Energy and Climate Change could be moved into North Staffordshire given the new “green” status of Stoke.

This change in Government policy has implications for the economy of North Staffordshire although I am aware that a concerted effort was made by ex mayor Mike Wolfe about 5 years ago to get a Government Department to move to the area so conceivably there might be a former presentation that needs to be dusted down should the opportunity present itself. I wonder if the new MPs are in the frame on this?

I hope that this objective of Government policy is on the antennae of the three local authorities and I trust that MP’s, Councils and Officers will be working together to entice a major Government department to North Staffs should it become a reality.