Welcome to my blog!

I am one of the three Tamworth Borough Councillors for the Mercian Ward, first elected in May 2011.  Do you have an issue I or any of my colleagues on Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council can help with?

Contact me by phone, e-mail or post

mobile: 07958 155 863
e-mail: Andrew-James@tamworth.gov.uk
post: c/o T.C.A., 23 Albert Road, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7JS

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Walking Football for the Over 50’s Coming to Tamworth

A new initiative to help people aged 50 and over stay active and enjoy a kick-about is shooting into Tamworth in the New Year.

Walking football is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game, aimed at the over 50s and is set to arrive in Tamworth from January 12, 2018.

This football activity is designed to help people over 50 maintain an active lifestyle, as well as helping people who may have had to stop playing football due to injuries return to the sport.

Other than walking as opposed to running, the rules are the same as the regular version of the game, therefore allowing individuals, who may not have played for years, to return to the game with like-minded people.  The sessions are recreational, light-hearted and most importantly fun!

The new initiative is being launched by Tamworth Borough Council’s Sports Development team and is designed to get people on their feet playing a 5-aside version of the game at a pace they are more comfortable with while meeting other local players in a relaxed environment.

The sessions will run every Friday from 5pm – 6pm at Wilnecote Leisure Centre sports hall, starting from January 12, 2018.  Sessions are priced at £2 per person and are overseen by FA personnel.

Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cabinet Member for Communities & Wellbeing, said, “Public health is vitally important to Tamworth Borough Council, so much so that we have made it one of our top priorities.  Walking football is a great example of how anyone over the age of 50 can still enjoy a sport, be active and meet new people with similar sporting interests.

“Thanks to the Sports Development Team, people will have the opportunity to play football again in a slower-pace 5-aside team and be able to increase their physical activity.”

To take part simply come along, or for more information contact James Hazlehurst, Sports Development Officer via email at james-hazlehurst@tamworth.gov.uk, or Mike Stevenson from Wilnecote Leisure Centre on 01827 831333 or email MStevenson@wilnecotehighschool.org.

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New THINK! Road Safety Campaign Launched to Help Cut Child Deaths

Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman has launched a new road safety campaign aimed at teachers and schools to help cut child fatalities.

A recent survey revealed that 67% of children get fewer than 2 hours of road safety education in their whole time at school and the new THINK! campaign will help schools and teachers highlight the dangers of the road and encourage best practice for children.

The government’s iconic THINK! campaigns have helped reduce child road deaths by 90% since records began in 1979.

Road Safety Minister, Jesse Norman, said, “We have some of the safest roads in the world and in the last ten years child road deaths have fallen by more than half.  But there is no room for complacency.

“Teachers are already doing great work but it’s important we in government do everything we can to help teach our children these important safety skills.  These new resources should make that easier than ever.”

The latest THINK! campaign will feature a wide range of brand new education resources, including easy to follow lesson plans, 2 new films co-created with school children and a song in a bid to make teaching road safety lessons easier and more accessible.

The first documentary-style film follows a group of schoolchildren as they act out how to cross the road safely after learning to use the Stop, Look, Listen, Think code.  The second film follows another six children on their different journeys to school, including walking, cycling and scooting.  They explain their top tips for getting to school safely in the form of a new road safety song.

THINK! has been running campaigns for more than 50 years and has successfully challenged a number of behaviours and attitudes to improve road safety, including drink driving, drug driving and using handheld phones while driving.  THINK! campaigns have helped reduce the number of deaths from 22 a day in 1960 to current levels of 5.

These new resources follow a long and a proud tradition of hugely successful child road safety campaigns spanning several generations and featuring much-loved icons such as, the family of Hedgehogs, Kevin Keegan, James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader) and David Prouse as the Green Cross Code Man.

The first phase of resources, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, are on the Think! website.  The next 2 phases for ages 7 to 12 and 13 to 16 will follow in the New Year.

To be the first to hear about the new resources, register your interest at think.direct.gov.uk/signup.

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Men and Women Asked Not to Miss Out on Bowel Screening

PHE is calling on all men and women, aged over 60, to get screened for bowel cancer after the latest figures show over 40% are not getting tested – with embarrassment over providing a stool sample one of the reasons, among men in particular, that is putting thousands unnecessarily at risk of dying.

PHE wants wives, partners and daughters to encourage the older men in the family – as well as the women – to overcome any embarrassment and ensure they send in a sample to be tested.

A new PHE report today (24 November 2017), Screening Programmes in England 2016 to 2017, shows that despite a 3% increase on the previous year, the take-up for bowel cancer screening (59%) is still significantly lower compared to other cancer screening programmes – breast screening (76%) and cervical screening (72%).

Bowel cancer screening is offered to all men and women aged 60 to 74, who are sent a home test kit to provide stool samples.

There were over 3,000 bowel cancers diagnosed as a result of screening in 2016 to 2017. In over 90% of these cases, cancers were found at an early stage, where treatment is more likely to be successful.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in England, but the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with around 13,000 people dying from it every year.

If detected early, bowel cancer is very treatable which is why screening is vital and it has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16%. Thousands more lives could be saved if more people, particularly men, returned their stool samples to be tested.

Improvements are being made to make screening easier and next year there will be a new home test, the faecal immunochemical test (FIT), which requires just 1 sample rather than the current 3, and will detect bowel cancer more accurately.

In addition to the home test, a one-off test called bowel scope screening is offered to men and women at the age of 55.

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For the Fallen

Solemn the drums thrill: Death August and Royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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We Will Remember Them

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Fake Remembrance Merchandise Seized by Border Force

Border Force officers have seized fake poppy branded jewellery, key rings and scarves estimated to be worth approximately £150,000.

The goods, some of which were also branded with the words ‘Lest we Forget’, were later confirmed to have infringed the Royal British Legion’s ‘two-petal poppy’ copyright.

The items were seized on 8 November when Border Force officers from the mobile International Trade Team based at Tilbury Docks attended a freight depot to examine an air freight consignment from China.  Inspecting the shipment, which was destined for an address in the Manchester area, officers discovered packages containing poppy branded goods including 1,212 scarves, 5,400 badges and 1,200 key rings.  Suspecting the copyright infringement, officers seized the goods and contacted the rights holder.

Amongst the consignment, officers also discovered 600 four-petal brooches, which were later confirmed to infringe the ‘four-petal’ copyright held by the Earl Haig Fund Scotland (Poppyscotland).

Mark Kennedy, Border Force Acting Deputy Director, said, “Had these fake goods entered the market, they could have cheated thousands of pounds from unsuspecting members of the public and diverted vital funds away from the Royal British Legion.

“My officers work around the clock at ports, airports and mail sorting centres identifying and seizing counterfeit goods and their diligence has proved vital here.

“All counterfeits cheat honest traders and we are determined to crack down on this type of criminality.  Border Force works closely with partner law enforcement agencies to ensure co-ordinated action against those who attempt to import fake goods.”

Once items are seized, Border Force’s specialist international trade teams work with the owners of big brands to establish whether or not goods are genuine.  If they are confirmed as fake, the goods are destroyed and the rights holders can then decide whether to privately prosecute the importers.

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Meet the Mercian Ward Councillors on Saturday

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