Category Archives: NewsDesk

NewsDesk: £300,000 Facelift For Dimensions

Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to give Dimensions, which is one of the city’s largest leisure centres, a £300,000 facelift.

The major upgrade will give the centre in Scotia Road, Burslem a new gymnasium.

Work on the project will start in April. When the new gymnasium opens, the existing gymnasium will be turned into an exercise studio.

Councillor Anthony Munday, the cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, is reported as saying:

“This project is a positive investment in our leisure services which will improve what we can offer to our residents. The changes reflect our commitment to improving health and wellbeing for a wide range of age groups. We want to encourage more people to become active, and I’m sure these improvements will play an important part in doing that.”


Comment: MPs Want Towns of Culture

MPs want Town of Culture competitions to be held in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to give each country its own town of culture.

During a debate on the proposal in the House of Commons, MPs from towns throughout the UK spoke about the cultural activities in their constituencies and the potential for cultural development. Members expressed their frustration that there had been hardly any discussion about the beneficial effect of culture on towns despite the long-term cultural and economic benefits the title UK City of Culture had brought to cities.

Spotlight on North Staffordshire and The Potteries believes there should be competitions in all parts of the UK to create national towns of culture. These competitions would give local towns like Congleton, Leek, Nantwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford the opportunity to bid to become England’s town of culture.

Town Centre Shops Face a Bleak Future

All over the country, town centre shops have been forced to close because of the popularity of online shopping.

More than 20,000 high street shops closed last year, and 23,000 are expected to close this year with the loss of 175,000 jobs.

Traditional high street shops, cafes and restaurants face an uncertain future unless the government and local authorities take positive steps to help them survive.

Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, who has called for a sales tax to be imposed on goods purchased from online retailers, is reported to have said that without government help the high street will be dead by 2030.

However, the government is refusing to impose an online sales tax which it believes would breach EU rules and the “divorce agreement” Mrs May has reached with Brussels.

NewsDesk: Women’s History Network Community History Prize 

The Women’s History Network awards an annual prize of £500 to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for women.

This prize is The History Press and nominations for it are welcomed from projects that include an active element of community engagement that “communicates a sense of heritage uncovered and learning”.

The project must have led to the creation of something that communicates the findings of the team’s historical research which could be a drama production, a heritage trail, a book or an exhibition.

For more details visit: Women’s History Network Community History Prize | Women’s History Network

Publication of book about Tunstall Town Hall and Market postponed

Spotlight on North Staffordshire and The Potteries has had to postpone publication of its book The History of Tunstall Town Hall and Market.

David Martin who is editing the book and writing its closing chapters was taken ill shortly before Christmas.

He lost the use of his legs and was unable to walk for several weeks.

Although his legs are still very painful, David has just started to walk again.

He anticipates being away from work until the end of May.

When David returns to work, his first job will be to complete the book and arrange for its publication.

NewsDesk – Burslem has become a ghost town

According to research by the Local Data Company, a third of the shops in Burslem’s run-down town centre are unoccupied.

Shops and banks have moved out. Nothing has come in to replace them.

Some shops have been empty for over five years, and one resident claims that there isn’t even a greengrocer’s shop where a customer can buy an apple. Very few people shop in Burslem. The town has nothing to offer them.

Many buildings in Market Place and Queen Street are abandoned and derelict. Their windows are broken. Willowherb and buddleias grow out of the guttering and weeds of all kinds have made their home in cracks in the brickwork.

June Cartwright the founder of Our Burslem, a group campaigning to regenerate Burslem, is trying to persuade Stoke-on-Trent City Council to open a street market which she believes will ease the town’s reliance on traditional high street shops.

Burslem is not the only town in The Potteries which has been abandoned by both shopkeepers and customers. Although Longton seems relatively busy, very few people shop in Fenton and Stoke which, like Burslem, have become ghost towns.

NewsDesk: £20 million boost for creative industries 

More than £20 million is being pumped into the UK’s thriving creative industries to help inspire and attract new talent, scale up existing businesses, boost skills and provide education.

The package of support announced by Creative Industries Minister Margot James during a visit to Dudley Technical College will help to increase the diversity of the sector’s workforce and maintain the future pipeline of creative talent in an industry that now contributes more than £100 billion to the UK economy.

Improving the nation’s skills and boosting business opportunities is at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which this week celebrates its one year anniversary. This new funding follows the publication of the Creative Industries Sector Deal earlier this year and includes:

  • A £14 million Creative Careers Programme led by industry will see leading industry figures working with schools and colleges to raise awareness of employment opportunities in the sector, reaching more than 160,000 students by 2020. Around 2 million young people will be able to access better advice about pursuing a creative career.
  • A £4 million programme to help scale up creative enterprises in Bristol, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands – helping creative businesses to access finance and translate their ideas into investment.£2 million to continue the successful ‘Get it Right’ campaign with industry until 2021 – helping to educate consumers on the dangers of copyright infringement and direct them to legitimate sources of creative content online.
  • £200,000 investment to upscale the Digital Schoolhouse programme being delivered by games trade body Ukie powered by PlayStation – inspiring the next generation of game creators, growing the programme to 50 schools by September 2019 and reaching an extra 7000 pupils next academic year.
  • £190,000 to the UK Games Fund to build on the new Pitch Development Programme. This helps promising companies gain industry support to receive UK Games Fund grants of £25,000.

Minister for the Creative Industries, Margot James, said:

“Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class creative and cultural output every day, and we want to stay as a frontrunner in these vibrant sectors.

“Our creative industries are a vital part of the economy, contributing over £100 billion to the economy, so it is important we maintain the pipeline of talent. This package will take the sector from strength to strength by arming the next generation of creatives with the necessary skills and giving businesses in the industry the support they need to succeed.

“The Creative Careers programme will see leaders of creative businesses inspire students through talks and work experience. Businesses will also be helped to develop more accessible routes into employment in the sector, this includes creating apprenticeship standards for priority roles which will be identified by industry.”

NewsDesk: Government Funding To Regenerate Historic High Streets 

England’s struggling historic high streets are going to be regenerated with £40m Government funding which will be delivered by extending Historic England’s successful Heritage Action Zone initiative.

Historic England will work with local authorities, Business Improvement Districts, Chambers of Commerce and others to deliver a four-year programme of physical improvements and cultural activities in historic high streets and town centres throughout the country.

The Heritage Action Zones initiative will run alongside the Transforming Places through Heritage programme where Architectural Heritage Fund advisors will support community schemes to deliver new uses for historic high street buildings.

For more details visit £40 Million Government Funding To Improve Historic High Streets | Historic England

Making space for the Wedding Present at Gladstone

NewsDesk: The Council for British Archaeology needs your help to grow stronger

The Council for British Archaeology needs your help to become a stronger organisation.

The council wants to know what you think about it and invites you to take part in a short survey that will only take a few minutes to complete.

You can take part in the survey either as an individual or as an organisation.

People taking part in the survey will have the chance to enter a prize draw and win a gift voucher for a spa day for two or its equivalent value in high street vouchers.

More information can be obtained from the Council for British Archaeology | Archaeology is for All

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