Blog Archives

Petition against cuts in bus subsidies presented to Staffordshire Council

A petition of 1379 names against cuts in bus subsidies was presented to Staffordshire County Council by Councillor Charlotte Atkins on behalf of the Staffordshire Labour Group on Thursday October 12th.

Councillor Charlotte Atkins (Leek South Division) said,

“I am presenting this petition on behalf of all those who will be devastated by these cuts in bus subsidies – the most disadvantaged: the old, the young, the sick, the disabled and those on low incomes.

“Buses are a lifeline in a rural county like Staffordshire – providing access to employment, education, healthcare, shopping and leisure opportunities. These are all vital to the quality of people’s lives.

“Without these buses, we will be adding to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. That will add to the mental health problems which are already high within Staffordshire and have huge consequences for rural communities.

“These swingeing cuts – a 70% reduction to the bus subsidies’ budget – are being proposed without any alternatives being planned. Why isn’t the County Council exploring innovative solutions to address the transport needs of our most vulnerable citizens – working with taxi services, health organisations, supermarkets, leisure outlets, and communities to develop sustainable alternatives? This must be done in advance of the axe falling.

“For once, we need not just to consider the bottom line but the needs of our most vulnerable residents – whose voice is rarely heard. We need to focus on the human and social outcomes of these ill thought out plans.”

Talke and Red Street County Councillor, Kyle Robinson said,

“Many people in our local community will feel trapped if more bus routes are axed.  I will continue to raise concerns of those residents who are worried about the future of their local bus services.  Many residents in my division who use public transport are worried that they may not be able to reach Royal Stoke Hospital without having to use taxis or walk miles.  Perhaps it is time for the Government to consider renationalising bus companies before the whole system fails.”

Chesterton Borough Councillor and campaigner, Cllr Allison Gardner said,

“We have been campaigning and collecting signatures for our petition over the summer. These cuts have already resulted in bus companies removing routes altogether.  Audley have lost their Saturday bus service to Newcastle and the number 17 Hanley bus has been cut. Cuts to public transport means isolation of people who cannot afford cars or are unable to drive. This means our elderly, disabled, young and poor residents will be adversely affected – the very people we need to be supporting the most. They, and whole communities, will become increasingly isolated and their access to work, training, health services and shops will be reduced. In turn this will have a detrimental effect on our local economy as well as the health, well being and opportunities of our residents. This is a further example of the appalling cuts forced on local government by the Conservative government and it is time we all spoke up, whatever our political persuasion, and said enough!”

Minor Ailment Scheme – Can it help your family locally?

In recent months many parents have contacted me to say that they sometimes struggle to get an appointment at the doctors either for themselves or for their kids. We all know that NHS services continue to be under pressure partly due to underfunding and a huge demand on services.

I was reading about the Minor Ailment Scheme or Minor Ailment Service and it could be a big help to families and elderly people if the service is used properly. As a local Councillor I am regularly given updates about our health service and I show a keen interest in local NHS services. However this was the first I had heard about such a scheme. The main aim is to encourage people not to visit the GP with minor ailments in the hope this will free up more appointments for people in serious need.

So now I know a bit more about the scheme I have taken the liberty of listing all the local pharmacies in Kidsgrove and the wider area that are signed up to the Minor Ailment Scheme. Please see the section below for local pharmacies.

So what is it and how can the scheme help you?

Minor Ailment Schemes exist in some parts of the UK. These schemes allow pharmacies to provide you with medicines for free on the NHS, as well as giving over the counter advice and support about how to care for minor conditions yourself.

The medicines covered by the scheme vary depending where in the UK you live, so you will need to talk to a pharmacy that signs up to the scheme in your local area.

Eligibility is quite clear. Anyone who doesn’t normally have to pay for prescriptions from their GP – for example because they are under 16, over 60 or on benefits is eligible for the scheme and will not need to pay for the medicine that the pharmacist suggests.

Which local pharmacies sign up to the scheme?

  • Lloyds Pharmacy – 42 Market Street, Kidsgrove, Stoke On Trent, ST7 4AB
  • Well Kidsgrove – Mount Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4AY
  • Well Goldenhill – Ann Street, Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 5QJ
  • Well Talke – Freeport, Jamage Rd, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 1QD
  • Packmoor – 1 Samuel Street, Packmoor, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4SR
  • Well Chesterton – 21-23 London Road, Chesterton, N-u-L, ST5 7EA
  • Boots and Asda stores with a pharmacy also sign up to the service.

Your pharmacy may be able to help with:

  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Hay fever
  • Head lice
  • Nappy rash
  • Sore throat
  • Teething

There are a few things to remember regarding the Minor Ailment Scheme:

The minor ailment scheme is not a national scheme. It is not possible to say exactly which medical conditions are covered because this will vary depending on the location and the particular service.

The scheme is designed to offer medication to meet an acute need. It is not an opportunity for parents to stock up on free children’s medications. If a pharmacist thinks someone is abusing the system, they can refuse any request for treatment at their discretion.

The pharmacist has no obligation to provide branded medication such as Calpol. If there is a cheaper generic version available that is known to be equally effective, it is likely that will be provided instead.

(Some information obtained via http://www.nhs.uk)

Woodshutts Park helps buyers get on the housing ladder

Example: New affordable homes development at Woodshutts Park, Butt Lane, Kidsrove.

Residents have begun moving in to new affordable homes in Kidsgrove thanks to a £2m Aspire Housing regeneration scheme.

The former Woodshutts Inn pub in Lower Ash Road, Butt Lane, was demolished to make way for 22 quality homes, ready for rent and shared ownership sale.

The flats, houses and bungalows in Woodshutts Park have transformed the neighbourhood, providing much needed housing at an affordable price. The shared ownership homes are priced of between £115k and £125k for two-bed houses or bungalows, where the buyer purchases a 40 per cent share.

The development was financed by Aspire Housing with £616,000 of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. Contractor, Novus Property Solutions completed the construction.

Sinéad Butters, Aspire Housing Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to providing new affordable homes, both for rent and to buy, to meet local housing needs. “I feel proud to see the transformation of this site. In the past, the derelict pub attracted interest for all the wrong reasons, it was an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“But we have turned it around and created housing which is in high demand. Four of the seven shared ownership homes were reserved before the site had been completed. “They are proving very popular and we know this type of housing is helping people get that first step on the property ladder.”

Novus Director, Alan Nixon, said: “We’re proud to have played our part in the transformation of this site, which had become something of an eyesore after years of neglect. “It’s a perfect example of our partnership with Aspire Housing to deliver attractive high quality new homes, which it is hoped will improve the wider area for the benefit of the whole community.

“I’m sure that the residents moving in will enjoy living in this stunning new development.”

Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “For many years this site was blighted with anti-social behaviour, arson and drug dealing.  “Residents in the surrounding area were fed up with the abandoned pub and the state it had been left in and that is why we led a campaign to see something done.  “I am absolutely thrilled to see the development of affordable homes on this land to finally give something back to local people.  “The investment that Aspire has made along with the Home and Communities Agency is very much welcomed.  “This is an example of what we can deliver for our communities when we work together.

“I would like to wish the new residents well in their lovely new homes.”