No Jubilee Beacons for Stoke-on-Trent?

At 10pm this evening a network of beacons will be lit across the UK to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The beacons in the UK will form part of over 4000 that are being lit around the Commonwealth.

Around the UK it seems that almost every county and city will be lighting at least one beacon this evening. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Requesting Bids For £108m Housing Project

Bidders are being given the chance to explain how they would deliver a £108m programme to build 390 new homes for older people.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has placed a notice with the Official Journal of the European Union – the publication that all public sector tenders for major projects must be published to – to start the process to design, build, finance and operate the homes.

The scheme will deliver much needed ‘extra care’ housing in the city – where older people can live independently and have the option of round the clock personal care, should they require it. The scheme gives residents the chance to prepare for their housing need in the future, and provides privacy and security. The homes also have communal facilities, open to both residents and the wider community such as hair salons, gyms and cafes, to foster support networks and reduce social isolation.

The notice will start the process to find a consortium to deliver the programme, and follows an announcement at the end of July from the Homes and Communities Agency that the council’s scheme could continue, after a vigorous assessment of all PFI projects across the country.

Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, said

This is a major step forward for the programme and the scheme represents a significant investment for the city. It is a major part of our Mandate for Change commitment to promote healthy lives and make Stoke-on-Trent a great place to live.  We will also consider and encourage bids that use local suppliers and the local workforce – we are committed to bringing investment into our city and fostering job opportunities for local people.

The notice invites bidders to submit details of their experience and ability to deliver such a major contract. As part of the process, the council will hold a bidder’s conference on Wednesday 7 December, for companies to meet the council’s team and find out more about the programme. Bidders have until 22 December to submit their details, and evaluation of the bids will take place during January 2012. Building work is expected to start in 2013.

Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for housing and neighbourhoods, said

Our city has an ageing population, and these units are vitally important to help meet demand for supported accommodation for our residents. The publication of the notice is a significant step forward in delivering such a major, and exciting, project.

The sites allocated for the 390 new homes are: Holdcroft Fields, Holdcroft Road, Abbey Hulton. Former Brookwood Home and Blurton Farm Depot, Consett Road, Blurton. Former Westcliffe Hospital, Turnhurst Road, Chell. The programme will build on existing schemes in the city, including the 75-unit Rowan Village in Meir and the 100-unit West End Village scheme in Stoke.

For more information about the bidders conference, interested groups should contact Alex Brookes at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. 

Jet pays tribute to local employer’s commitment

The commitment of a North Staffordshire employer to taking on local people has been officially recognised by an innovative employment scheme.

The Jet Business team has presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Accord Care and Support to acknowledge their support in helping long-term unemployed people get into work.

Accord have already taken on four Jet clients at Meir’s Rowan Village and Knutton’s Millrise sheltered housing complexes, with the possibility of more opportunities on the horizon.

Jenny Mullinder, manager of Millrise explained:

“We were introduced to Jet through Staffordshire Housing Association and their aim of placing long term unemployed people into work sat very well with our commitment to corporate social responsibility.

“In the care sector we need staff with the right personal qualities and Jet clients, who have often been at home bringing up a family or caring for relatives, have skills that transfer very well into our work environment.

“The Jet clients went through our normal interview procedure and performed really well ““ and we will certainly be continuing to work with Jet Business with a view to sourcing more staff.”

Lindsay Mitchell, Jet Business Employment Broker added:

“The Jet scheme has had incredible results in getting thousands of local unemployment people into training or jobs in North Staffordshire thanks to our joined-up approach to recruitment, training and liaison with employers.

“Many local businesses have given us great support, especially Accord who were our first client in the care sector.

“They recognised the value of giving a chance to people who may have little work experience but have the qualities and skills that make them an asset in a business environment.

“We now work with more than 100 local businesses to support their recruitment needs and we are working with a number of organisations to ensure local people have the right training to give them the best possible chance of securing employment.”

Debbie Whalley of Burslem was unemployed for 15 years after finishing work to bring up her family. At 48 she was unsure how to get back into work and went along to a Jet open day at Port Vale Football Club.

Having cared for her family she knew she had good skills which she hoped would translate into the work environment. Debbie said:

“Looking after people appealed to me and Jet helped me to have more confidence, gave me training and helped me believe I could get a job. I had been for other jobs but Jet trained me in interview techniques and put me forward for this job.

“At first I was covering maternity leave, then they took me on as a permanent carer. I love the job and it’s great to be working.”

For more information on Jet visit www.jet2work.