This past couple of weeks have been busy for me, which is less than usual these days, and I’ve been throwing myself into things to make sure that I and others can get the most out of it. As you’ll be able to see on the right tool bar of my blog there are logos for the #SaveStaffordHospital campaign, which I’ve been involved with, and that was no more prevalent than this Saturday where myself and a number other campaign activists set out our stall and did their bit over 7 hours to petition people about the need for A&E services in Stafford and to build support for the Hospital generally. After calling it a day as the Town Centre was falling to night and preparing for the Stafford Borough Council’s lights switch on I stayed for the ensuing Fireworks and performance from the cast of Stafford Gatehouse’s Rock and Roll Panto – Dick Whittington.
This week has also been a week of meetings in the evening with a Resources and Corporate Services Task and Finish Group meeting, a meeting about Stafford Schools, a Planning committee which discussed the plans to change the primary football pitch at Rowley Park into a 3G Synthetic Pitch and to move facilities for some of the field events in Athletics (namely Hammer, Javelin and Discus) and tonight I’m going to an Elected Mayors debate in Birmingham.
As readers may be aware I contributed a blog post to the debate over whether Elected Mayors were right for Birmingham (and elsewhere) under the heading ‘Moving the Goal Posts not the Politics’. How widespread the debate for Stafford to have an Elected Mayor has been I don’t know, outside of discussions on Stafford Direct and Stafford Forum, but it is not one of the 12 cities that has been proposed to have a city-wide referendum in May 2012 to decide whether or not they will adopt the proposals. I think it’s important we engage with these wider debates as the potential for change in leadership style in England’s Second City and the West Midland’s leading City has the power to crucially impact how our regional economy works and provide opportunities for many of our local authorities. My own personal interest is because I’m interested constitutional matters and the debate for the Elected Mayor will give me an opportunity to debate and understand my own views better as well as listen to others.
To carry on the flow of meetings this week: Support Stafford Hospital has established themselves this week to support the #SaveStaffordHospital campaign and has called for a public meeting where many of the town’s leading voices and figures will be present to discuss the future of Stafford Hospital and how we can help ensure that our A&E re-opens as soon as possible. This meeting is taking place at Walton High School at 6pm and please see their website for more details.
Over the weekend I’ll be attending a Young Councillors Training Weekend, for Councillors under the age of 40, at the University of Warwick hosted by the Local Government Association and I’m looking forward to meeting many of my younger colleagues who are finding their feet within the council chamber as they are as champions of the community. I really do hope that this weekend will give me an opportunity to bring back some vital skills for our Council on how Councillors can engage with residents more actively with social media and how we can make the most efficient use of our time to deliver for residents.