Category Archives: NewsDesk

NewsDesk: Know your rights when Christmas shopping 

Staffordshire County Council is urging people doing their Christmas and New Year shopping to get to know their rights and avoid scams.

Consumer laws were updated in 2015 and aim to give people greater clarity when they shop in-store or online.

The Consumer Rights Act clarifies consumer law and includes legislation to allow people to obtain a full refund on faulty goods within 30 days of purchase, an ability to challenge unfair terms and conditions or those that are hidden in small print, and an ability to demand poor services are redone or that there is a price reduction.

In addition, the laws cover faulty digital goods such as online films, games, music and e-books.

People can also take a few simple steps to reduce the chances of falling victims to scams and fraudsters.

Sales of counterfeit clothes and electrical items online have increased in recent years.

People should be aware that websites sometimes use a domain name that falsely suggests they are UK-based.

People should be particularly wary of goods being offered for sale on social media. Quite often these are counterfeit goods which are potentially dangerous and of poor quality.

Scam websites are often difficult to tell from genuine ones but there are some tell-tale signs people can look out for. People should be wary if the site:

• Offers are too good to be true, for example, the price of an item is markedly lower than the market rate

• Has no information about the identity of the person operating the business such as the proprietor’s name or the company’s full name

• Has no geographic address for the business, preventing people from locating the business in the event of a dispute

• Makes no mention of any cancellation rights

• Has unfair or restrictive terms and conditions which limit people’s legal rights

• Only accepts payments via money transfer services such as MoneyGram and/or Western Union

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

“Christmas shopping is now well underway and New Year sales will begin on Boxing Day so it’s an ideal time to remind people of their consumer rights and tips to avoid scams.

“Consumer laws apply to both in-store and online shopping so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them.

“Internet shoppers are increasingly targeted by fraudsters and that’s why it is important people follow some simple safety tips while shopping.

“We want people to be able to shop with confidence online, stay safe and enjoy the festive preparations.”

Citizens Advice Consumer Service is the primary source of information and advice on consumer rights. The consumer helpline is 03454 04 05 06 and its website:

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

A new project for Festival Stoke in 2019

Focus on Hanley: Winter Walks and Santa Dashes in Hanley Park

Winter birdlife in Hanley Park

The park is beautiful this time of year and is the ideal time to spot the array of birds we have in residence. If you are coming for a walk over the festive period you are likely to spot a huge variety of birds including kingfishers, robins, goldfinch, gold crests, tree creepers, nuthatches, jays, wrens, mistle thrush, great spotted woodpeckers, herons and the odd cormorant to name a few. It is also the ideal opportunity to see the development in the restoration works which are due to be complete by the summer next year…

To read more news from Hanley Park visit Winter Walks and Santa Dashes in Hanley Park

Tunstall’s indoor market is 160 years old this year

Tunstall’s indoor market hall, which opened in December 1858, celebrates its 160th birthday this year.

In 1856, Tunstall’s Board of Health decided to build a new market hall.

The board of health commissioned George Thomas Robinson, the architect who designed Burslem’s Old Town Hall, to build the market hall.

Constructed on a half acre site opposite the Market Place in High Street, the market hall cost £7,651.

It was opened by Thomas Peake, the Chief Bailiff and Chairman of the Board of Health, on December 2, 1858. In the evening a concert was held in the market hall. At 9.00 pm there was a firework display in the Market Place (Tower Square) which was followed by a ball in the market hall.

Trading commenced there two days later on December 4, 1858, when the retail market which sold:

  • Dairy produce
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, poultry, game and rabbits
  • Manufactured goods and household utensils

left the Market Place and moved into the building.

Tucked away behind the town hall in High Street, the indoor market is Stoke-on-Trent’s hidden gem.

It’s a warm-hearted place where friendly, welcoming traders sell high-quality fish and meat, fruit and vegetables, groceries, household goods and luxury items at reasonable prices to local people and customers who have come from as far away as Alsager, Biddulph, Mow Cop and Congleton to do their weekend shopping.

Today, the market hall is home to one of the best indoor markets in England and Wales – a place where you and your family can do the weekend shopping under one roof.

NewsDesk – Shire Hall Forum Meeting

Shire Hall Stafford


The next meeting of Stafford’s Shire Hall Forum, which is campaigning to turn the Shire Hall into a TimeLine Museum dedicated to Women’s History,  will take place on Monday, March 26th at 7.00 pm in The Bird in Hand, Mill Street, Stafford.

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