Blog Archives

Future of Talke Library Looking Bright

Lesley and Jill at Talke Library.

The future of Talke Library is looking more positive as a community organisation sets up base there.

Local voluntary and community sector support and development organisation, Support Staffordshire, now has a base locally at Talke Library. As local manager, Jill Norman, explains: “We have been looking for a base in Newcastle and Kidsgrove for a while and have decided to try using Talke Library which gives us a great place to access all parts of Newcastle Borough and also allows us to support the community library and its volunteers. We are keen to take the opportunity to encourage more community use of the library and its resources. It’s a great facility and has a lovely meeting room as well as flexible space in the main library.”

Talke County Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “Since I was elected to Staffordshire County Council I have held meetings with senior officers, pressured the Leader of the County Council and fought hard to ensure Talke Library has a future.  I have also raised my concerns about cuts to Library opening times, but hopefully this situation will improve as the ‘Support Staffordshire’ team begin to work more closely with the community.  I am hoping that a firmer arrangement can be sealed in the New Year and I will continue to be part of any negotiations to secure a positive future for this vital community facility. I shall look forward to working with Jill and her team.”

Support Staffordshire has already held one of its quarterly voluntary sector forum meetings and also a training session at Talke Library. Lots of different activities already take place at the library, including monthly Monday evening talks organised by The Friends of Talke Library and a craft group which meets every Monday afternoon. However, there are opportunities for other activities and Support Staffordshire is keen to attract people who would like to run new activities, or to volunteer to support existing activities, at Talke Library.

The base at Talke Library gives Support Staffordshire a chance to offer face-to-face advice and support to individuals who may be interested in volunteering through its Volunteer Centre services, and to those running a voluntary or community group who may need help on governance, funding, finding volunteers, or any other aspect of running an effective group. Staff will be available during the normal library opening hours of 1pm to 5pm on Mondays and 2pm to 5pm on Wednesdays (Talke Library is also open on Fridays 2pm to 5pm, run by Staffordshire County Council staff and volunteers).

You can just drop in to see us, although it is best to ring in advance to book at appointment to be sure. To book please ring 01538 381356 or, for volunteering advice email and for organisation advice email

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