Tag Archives: blythe bridge library

NEWS: Covid stats / happy Sir Bill / Facebook’s worth / open library

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-January 2021
In this post we have news of…: our MP is a happy man / local Covid statistics / respect to library volunteers / our Facebook handles a crisis….

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

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Covid statistics

There’s no doubt what subject dominates the local, national and international news – it’s Covid. Despite the lockdown in November, Tier 4 in December, and lockdown 3 this month, the disease just seems to get more and more of a hold – even in our tiny corner of the world.

Everybody wears a mask these days… (pic Pexels.com)

The stats make for tough reading, but here they are.
Since the starts of the pandemic, our region (the Staffordshire Moorlands) has had over 4,000 cases identified – meaning that at least five per cent of us have been infected. The figure is probably much higher though, as many people either had milder symptoms or showed no symptoms at all, and so do not show up as ‘identified’ cases.

The good news however is that the ‘rolling rate’ of infection (the amount of people testing positive in the last seven days) in the Moorlands is now less than in the rest of Staffordshire. It is, at the time of writing, around 260 cases per 100,000 people (Staffordshire county as a whole is over 500).
As for the stats for Draycott, you can drill down to as far as the district of ‘Blythe & Caverswall’ (the official district that Draycott falls into). Just click on this link, and enter your postcode in the box to get the figures.
If you remember, our little district was a ‘hotspot’ problem area in November – but, as you can see, that is not the situation any more, thank goodness.

However, as everyone knows, the scenario is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Our regional ambulance service had its busiest day in its whole history on January 4th and no one thinks it’s going to get easier for the health services for some weeks.

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Community Facebook proves its worth

Community pages on Facebook get a lot of criticism – critics say they are full of tittle-tattle, spite and rumour-mongering. However, the Draycott one is pretty good (in our opinion) – probably because it is well managed by the volunteer locals who administer it.

The Draycott one especially proved its worth last month when a water-main burst on the junction by the Draycott Arms. For three days & more, the road was under water and closed to traffic.

Burst water main Draycott

However, it wasn’t more than a matter of minutes into the incident before the facebook group was in action, warning other residents of the issue, and keeping the community at large across the whole situation with running updates up until the road reopened.
Congratulations to the group.

Incidentally, there is now a second Draycott Community Facebook group. It’s not clear why a second group was felt to be necessary, but it’s there anyway. It’s private, unlike the main Facebook group (which is public to view), so, if you want to see the posts on it, you must formally join it.
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Open library

Hats off to the volunteers who run our local library at Blythe Bridge (see pic below). At the start of this current lockdown, ‘community-managed library branches’ (i.e. those run by volunteers, not paid staff) were given the choice to stay open or not. Of course, they did have to show that their buildings could be Covid-secure, but after that, it was the volunteers’ choice.

Blythe Bridge Library

Many county library branches said, no, they would shut. In fact, in neighbouring Shropshire, all libraries shut! This is why we say hats off to the volunteers at Blythe Library (who include in their numbers people from Draycott). They believe, as the government does, that “Libraries are an Essential Service” – and so they are keeping Blythe open (under conditions) two days a week, as they have done since September.
Much respect to them.

_ _ _
Sir Bill has a smile

In amidst the gloom, one man can permit himself a smile at least.

Sir Bill Cash

Sir Bill Cash, our MP, has campaigned all the forty years of his parliamentary life to get Britain to leave the European Union. He has a long history as a ‘rebel’ within the Conservative party when it came to Europe.
Well – whether you agree with his stance on Europe or not – his dream came true on January 1st, when Britain formally exited the EU. In fact he is so against the idea of any sniff of union with the EU that it wasn’t clear he would support Boris Johnson in the final vote on December 30th – but in the end only two Tory MPS refused to support Mr Johnson and he wasn’t one of them.

So – what now for Sir Bill? He’s over eighty, and his biggest dream has been achieved. Will he choose to retire at the next election? It’s a possibility, and then we’d have a new MP..

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NEWS: elections in / book success / accounts (?) / bowls club

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the recent election results / local history book success / council’s invisible accounts / bowls club open …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Fun Tennis Tournament. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Results are in

Well, that’s it for elections for a while (hopefully!).
Since last year’s referendum, we in Draycott have had a parish-council bye-election, a county council election, AND a general election. The next lot is due in 2019.

As for the results, Tory candidate Mark Deaville was re-elected as one of our Staffordshire county councillors for the Cheadle & Checkley ward (which includes us) with a whopping 56% of the vote. No-one else was in sight. Sadly, the turn-out was just a measly 28% of the electorate.
Soon after the election, the Conservative administration on the county council confirmed that Mark will resume his post as the county’s Cabinet member for highways. Congratulations to him.

In the general election, it was a similar story with Conservative Bill Cash storming home to be (again) our MP for the Stone constituency. Oddly, the trailing Labour candidate did get a huge increase his votes too – but that is explained by the total collapse of the local UKIP vote.

Weirdly, Mr Cash has just put up a new website – https://billcashforstone.wordpress.com/ – about his work in this constituency, but it is the most amateurish piece of work we’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to believe he approved it.
Sadly, Mr Cash has turned off the comments function of this website; it would have been nice to be able to put a comment on!

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Email a photo now

Our local library at Blythe Bridge has a photography completion running at the moment – and they are looking for photos of this whole area (including Draycott).
The idea is that the photos should be of a local quiet spot, somewhere where a person can just sit and contemplate the world. It could be your own back-yard, or it could be somewhere where you stop for a moment on your walks.

Draycott churchyard

A place to stop and think: Draycott St Margaret’s churchyard…

It’s easy to take part – just email your photo to the library – and you could be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Click here for the rules etc.

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Successful history book

Congratulations to local boy Matthew Pointon whose book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors raised over £700 in profit.
Matthew, who took not a penny himself, asked for the profits to be divided equally among the two historic churches in Draycott – St Margaret’s Parish Church and St Mary’s RC Church at Cresswell.

The parish council, who put up the initial money to see the book published, decided such an achievement needed a special event to celebrate it; and a History Event was held at St Margaret’s on June 3rd.

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During the afternoon, Levison Wood, the chairman of the local history society, led a special history tour of the village, which was very successful; and tea & cakes were served (for free!!).  Alongside that were special displays remembering the long, long history of this village.

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Bowls – a true Summer sport

One of the disadvantages of a lot of summer sports is that they can be cancelled because of rain. However, not so in crown-green bowls!
The sturdy members of the local bowling club in Cresswell pretty much carry on in the rain – unless it’s lashing down.

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary, says the club is still keen to find new members – from absolute beginners to skilled champions.
Basic membership is £10 for the year, though that means you have to pay £1 each time you use the green. The clubhouse on the site was refurbished last year, so it’s a comfortable experience.
The great thing is that the green is pretty much open all the time; it’s sited at the entrance to the business park in Cresswell, so it is open 16 hours a day!

The club get-together is always on Thursday afternoon, so that is a good time to wander over and introduce yourself if you want to have a go, or get some guidance.

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Invisible accounts

Lastly, you may have seen on the noticeboards that Draycott Council has finally published its end-of-year accounts, and we all have until Friday 21st July to examine them, and, if need be, query them.

Trouble is: how do you get to them, to see them?

Most local councils now put a print-out on their noticeboards, or publish them online.  This what next-door Milwich Council and Dilhorne Council have done. The government is urging every council to do it one of these ways.
Some councils (including next-door Hilderstone Council) even publish the chairman’s annual report online.

But not Draycott Council.  At least, not yet.
In this district, what we have to do is first apply to the council clerk for permission to see them, and then (presumably – but who knows?) we have to trudge round to an address somewhere just to see the papers.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler – and more democratic – to publish them online on the council’s website?
Please?

====STOP PRESS:  A week after this article was written, these accounts were published online after all – see Draycott Council Accounts 2016/17. Thank you to the council for responding to residents’ requests).=====

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Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: 4th local pub / new library name / underpants bet / £1000 threat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2016
News of…:  new bar & grill coming to Draycott / think of a new name for Blythe Library / Staffs Moorlands threaten householders with fine / will cricket man have to do a Gary Lineker? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a barn dance. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Golden…ale

Anyone who likes a drop of locally-brewed real ale will be pleased at the news that this district can now expect a FOURTH pub (we already have the Draycott Arms, The Izaak Walton and The Hunter).

Yes, the new version of what was formerly The Plough / The Mango Tree / The Sultan (at the Blythe end of our Uttoxeter Road) is going to be a bar & grill type place, serving Indian and English style ‘sizzler’ dishes – with a more ‘proper’ drinking area than was there before.

Golden Keg sign

Golden Keg is almost ready to open, but not quite!

Calling itself The Golden Keg’ it opens in two weeks (on September 14th) and is promising a good range of ales – including local Titanic ales. The management has already got its Facebook page up and running.
Watch this space!

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Name that library!

The latest update from our local library at Blythe Bridge is that things are all going plan. Although management of the library officially passed from the county council to community volunteers earlier this year, the new-look library never really got a proper official opening.
Well, that oversight will be put right next month, on Saturday 8 October when there will be a little part of celebration, open to all.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

As part of that celebration, the library will be getting its new name – and you can help choose what it will be, as all suggestions are welcome.
It could just be something straightforward, like ‘Blythe Community Hub’ or something like … mmm… ‘The Blythe Fun Shop’! (Well it’s only a suggestion).
Email your suggestion to blythebridge.library@staffordshire.gov.uk as soon as you can.

Also – check out our What’s On pages for news of new adult-education language classes coming to the library.

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Identify yourself – or be fined £1000

Yet another piece of paper-work for us is the ‘Household Enquiry Form‘, which should have come tumbling through your letterbox in the last fortnight.
It looks like just another voter registration form, but it’s not.  This form (from Staffordshire Moorlands Council) is one asking us to confirm those very same registration details we already have filled in.

Why they really need another piece of paper from us is a bit of mystery, but I was told that it’s a method of preventing voter fraud, which unfortunately is a growing crime.
Anyway, the council seems determined to get us to fill in the form – as anyone who doesn’t faces a £1000 fine…  Click here for details

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Doing a Gary Lineker?

The first team at Blythe Cricket Club (whose ground is in Cresswell) might look as though they’ve had yet another unremarkable season, as they are lying almost mid-table in the NSSCL Division 1 yet again with only a couple of weeks of the season to run.

However, the statistics are lying in this instance, as the team have had a couple of stunning victories and have been playing really well.  One of the stars of the season has been fourteen year-old Jack Hammond, who came into the first team almost by accident when the regular wicket-keeper got injured at the beginning of the season– but he has played so well, he has kept his place!

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Head of Cricket at the club, Mark Hammond (yes … he is a relation!) says the real stumbling-block this year has been the weather.  Sometimes the rain has descended – cruelly – just ten minutes before stumps-time, robbing the team of valuable points.

In fact, Mark is so convinced that the first team are so brilliant that he has laid a really …well, spectacular… bet on next season.
Mark bet (in front of witnesses!) that if the first team do not win their division next year, he will do a Gary Lineker and serve behind the bar at a club event … in just his underpants…

Well, the club has always said it wanted to attract more ladies.  Maybe this is the answer.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

Support our wildlife – buy a mug!

This month, people in our area have a unique opportunity to support our local wildlife and buy a lovely pottery mug at the same time.
All through July there is an exhibition of photographs of birds and mammals – many taken here in this district – at our local library in Blythe Bridge. All of them were taken by the well-known wildlife photographer Louie Horleston, who lives in Cresswell.

Not only are prints of the photos in the exhibition for sale, but also some specially created pottery mugs, which have transfers of the wildlife photographs on them.

Save Our Staffordshire Wildlife mugs

You can see images of the photo-transfers that appear on the mugs in more detail below, in our slideshow.
Most of the animals in these photos can be seen in our part of Staffordshire – though a couple of puffins, and an eagle (neither of which can be seen in Staffordshire !) do make up the full set.

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Hard times for wildlife

Louie Horleston travels all over the country photographing wildlife, particularly birds, especially in the remoter parts of the UK.

But he is particularly saddened that the new housing estate & new industrial estates coming to Cresswell will devastate the local habitats, especially in and around the course of the River Blithe.
The river here creates what’s known as a ‘flood plain’ around it as it goes, so birds like Yellow Wagtails breed here, as do Yellow-Hammers, Kingfishers and Lapwings.
In the river itself one can find wild brown trout, crayfish, a healthy water vole population and frequently we have even otters travelling up and down the river!
There are even over a dozen species here which Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has described as ‘priority’.

But Cresswell’s real claim to fame is our feeding Golden Plovers, which arrive here every year, as do even the very rare Willow Tits and Water Rails.

Campaign

Louie is so dismayed by what the massive new building developments will do to the district’s wildlife that he is donating the profits from the sales of all the prints and the mugs to support local wildlife.
“It is all too easy to forget about our wildlife” Louie told us. “But once it’s gone, it’s gone – and what a tragedy that is.  If this vast new development goes ahead, then the river-plain around Cresswell, and Draycott, will be changed forever.”

Sales

The exhibition of photos by Louie can be seen at Blythe Bridge Library right through July – click here for opening hours (note that the library no longer closes at lunchtimes – no matter what the website says!).

The prints and the mugs are all for sale – the prints are priced around £15; the mugs are £3.50 (earthenware), or £4.95 (china).
The prints and mugs will also be on sale at the Draycott Summer Fayre (on Sunday July 10th).
If you are unable to get to the sales points, but would like more information about getting some, just email for details.

* For more about wildlife in this district, see these articles:  A wildlife information board for Cresswell and Spot wildlife in Draycott

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Want to comment on any item on this page?      Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Our library – now ‘managed by the community’

This week sees the beginning of a whole new regime at Blythe Bridge Library, (the local library to us in Draycott).

As soon as you walk in the building you’ll notice the changes – and that is because, for the first time for over fifty years, the county council is no longer in control.
Blythe Bridge Library is now being run by a neighbourhood-based community organisation, the ‘Care & Fun’ charity.

Community-managed

Twelve months ago, Staffordshire County Council announced proposals to shrink its library service. It told us that only the main town libraries (like Cheadle) would be fully supported.  Smaller ones (like Blythe Bridge) would need to look to community support.
Not everyone was happy about this decision; it does look suspiciously like more cuts.

However, the move seems to have worked out for us in this district, because Care & Fun – which already maintains the pre-school nursery at William Amory Primary – stepped up, and said they’d take on the library’s management.
Care & Fun is basically a local charitable organisation – with trustees etc – which backs certain local projects.  None of the trustees – not even the chairperson, Helen Bickerton – gets paid, though any professionals working for the projects (like the nursery workers) do.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Why did the trustees at Care & Fun think that this ‘community-managed library’ would be a good project to back?  “Because it is the open centre of this district”, says Helen. “Everybody needs to come here, sooner or later!”

Volunteers

The way the new Blythe Bridge Library ‘Centre’ will work is totally local in form, i.e. totally using volunteers from the surrounding area.  Sixteen volunteers will be needed, plus two volunteer caretakers.
It’s expected that there will be a turn-over of staff too, so training is going on for new volunteers all the time.
A professional librarian, Michelle Forrester, who is based at Leek, will be on hand to respond though, if there are major issues.

What sorts of volunteers are needed?  Specialist ones?  No, not at all.  Actually, the roles won’t be that difficult – though computer awareness would be a bonus.
“It’s no harder than working in a shop” one volunteer told us.

All the ‘complicated’ stuff will still be done by the county council:  books will still be brought in, managed and paid for by the county council, and the building and its computers still belong to the council, though Care & Fun do pay a ‘peppercorn rent’.

New ideas for use

Because all the boring stuff is taken care of by the council, it means the new centre can start to think about new initiatives.   And because Care & Fun doesn’t have restrictions on it like the county council did, it can invite sponsorship for special events or for special mini-projects.  It has also more freedom on whom it can encourage to use the library – for example, small theatre events could be put on.

Certainly the charity is wanting to hear from local people and organisations who could use the spaces in the centre – whether for meetings or art-displays … or, well, whatever!
Already the ‘Toy Library’, which used to be in Forsbrook, is relocating to the centre.

In fact Care & Fun have to be congratulated on the fact that Blythe Bridge is the only library in the Moorlands so far to negotiate successfully for some adult-education classes.  Leek College Outreach is putting on two classes at the library, both starting this week.

Future

However, as everything has happened very quickly, there are still some fiddly things to sort out.
What is a ‘fair’ hire-charge for rooms, for example? Will the new centre, which has to stay solvent, be able to be as generous as the county council were?
What about the labour-intensive tasks, like taking books to housebound people?
Will free story-telling sessions be able to continue?

The only way for us to influence the answers to these questions is for us all to make a habit of dropping in to the new ‘library-centre’ now and again, and keep checking out what’s going on.
Helen Bickerton is clear: “Please keep using the library-centre… In a very real sense, it is now a project for everyone – almost more than ever.”

If you would like to volunteer, just drop in some time and have a chat (for opening times, click here), or drop an email to careandfun@live.co.uk.  (It’s the same email address for any other questions).
Even if you had your doubts when the policy of ‘volunteer-libraries’ was first suggested, you may want to drop in and take a look at how things are changing.  In this instance we do have a truly local initiative; and that aspect of the project alone must surely give it the benefit of the doubt!

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For your diary, at Blythe Bridge Library Centre
Every third Monday is ‘Job Club’
The ‘Altered Books’ craft class runs for five Saturdays (10-12) from 16th April – £45
Spanish For Holidays runs for nine Wednesdays (7pm-9pm) from 13th April – £81
For details on these last two adult education classes, see: blc.ac.uk courses
Care & fun

NEWS: church repairs / world champion! / spate of thefts / youth work in need

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late September 2015
News of…:  St Mary’s gets a face-lift / Tara retains her world champion title / appeal to keep youth-work going / library to remain open / spate of petty thefts in Draycott …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a concert at Draycott Church Hall. Check out the Events page)

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Things looking up at St Mary’s

If you’ve wandered along Cresswell Old Lane in the past fortnight, you’ll have noticed the scaffolding over the front of the church there.  It’s all to do with long-needed repairs to the front to the building, especially to the coping stones on the pediment, which were sprouting some rather too-healthy pieces of vegetation until recently.
St Mary scaffolding

Scaffolding at St Mary’s

We’re told the repairs will be accompanied by a clean-up to the front: which means the old church will be looking its best when it celebrates its 200th anniversary next year.
The statue of Our Lady, which is installed in a niche halfway up the facade, may also get a fresh lick of paint, which can only be a good thing.
(The statue was donated to the church in 1912 by Lady Stourton.  The Stourtons were Draycott village’s chief patrons at the time; and in fact, the present Draycott Arms was called the Stourton Arms during the nineteenth century).

Incidentally, if anyone has memories of St Mary’s , and feels they can contribute them for the 200th celebrations, would you email us?  …And we’ll put you in touch with the anniversary organisers.

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Top of the world

Well, we’re glad to say that we have a current world champion in our midst!

Tara BurndredTara Burndred (right), who runs the Tatsu Kai Dojo martial-arts and fitness centre in Cresswell, returned a few days ago from a trip to Switzerland – where she had been defending her world title at the World Jiu-Jitsu championships… and she returned in triumph, having done just that!
Tara took silver in the ‘Ladies 2015 Individual Grappling (BJJ) Division 2‘.

Her success is all the more remarkable seeing that she ‘retired’ from major competition in 1993 in order to bring up her kids Ash and Ellie, and only returned to the top-level of the sport two years ago.
Congratulations to her!

You can find a short video on YouTube about Tara and her centre .

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Keeping youth work going

Much of Tara’s work at her centre is devoted to sessions for children, and across the other side of the village, many parents also have reason to be thankful, this time to youth worker Mick Smith, who runs the weekly Mish-Mash Youth Club at the Draycott Church Hall.
However, Mick’s youth work gets no support from the local authority and is largely funded by contributions from local churches.  The one-pound fee for children to get in barely covers costs.

So an appeal, led by St Margaret’s Church, has now been launched to raise funds to keep the work going.  Mick leads sessions in Blythe Bridge as well as Draycott.
Should you need any details, or simply wish to put your name forward as a donor, please contact Graham Stokes (01782 397307) or Joan Pritchard (01782 395616).

– – –
Library stays open

It had been a bit of a worry that the reorganisation of the smaller libraries in this county might have meant the closure of some – including our nearest one, the one at Blythe Bridge.
The county council decided earlier this year that they would no longer run it, and were inviting local groups to come forward to take on its management.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Well, one such group has come forward after all to say it will take-over the running of Blythe Bridge Library.   The ‘Care & Fun Club’ charity, which is better known for running the nursery at William Amory School, has offered its services, and has been accepted.

The details have et to be thrashed out, such as: what will be the opening hours?; will volunteers be needed to run the desk?; how will the finance be managed?…  but, at least, the library will definitely stay open.

– – –
Check
those locks

Finally, the Draycott Facebook group has been discussing the latest spate of petty thefts and burglaries to have struck the area.  The police have put the latest incidents down to small groups of opportunist thieves, probably from Stoke on Trent, turning up and just sniffing around, to see if they can find empty sheds, unlocked garage doors and so on.  Some cars have been damaged too.
The thieves are after small, easily disposed-of, portable items for quick re-sale somewhere.

Obviously, it’s time to check there is reasonable security on any outbuildings you may have; and probably time to think again about secure window-locks etc.
The parish council say they will invite the police to put on a talk sometime soon locally about home security.

– – –
Announcement

Finally, some may remember George Jones, who used to live here in Draycott before he moved up to Cheadle.  Sadly, his death was reported this week.  He was 85. His funeral is at St Margaret’s on October 13th.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Troubled times for the library service

“We live in interesting times”, as the saying goes… meaning we live in troubled times.

Wednesday this week was a big day: the Izaak Walton Pub announced it was closing for a period, and Tean Post Office closed too (though, to everyone’s surprise, it has immediately re-opened!).
Also, on Wednesday, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council finally confirmed the date for its discussion (next week) of the Blythe Park planning application (the one where over 150 new homes could be built in Cresswell) – click here if you want more details of that.

Libraries

So, the fate of our local library service got swamped by all the other news on Wednesday.
But the news about it is not great either.

Blythe Bridge Library is one of the libraries that will be ‘handed over to the community’.  This is a poor phrase, because no-one knows what it really means.
In other places where this is the case, members of the local community are already organised to run their local library – this is what is happening in nearby Werrington.  However, here, the local parish council has expressed no interest in doing that.

What will probably happen is that the current staff will be made redundant, and that VAST, an agency that recruits volunteers, will be tasked with finding local people to come forward and do voluntary work at the library. This will take place over the next six months.  More than likely, the library will be given an advisor by the main Staffordshire County Library Service to oversee the situation.
What the new hours will be, and what services the ‘new’ library can provide are up in the air.

The one blessing is that Cheadle Library stays fully open.

Mobile library

And what about the mobile library that visits Draycott once every six weeks?
Well, as reported in the newspapers a while back, that service is the next under threat.
We now know that, during the next few months, a ‘review’ of the service will be carried out.  We all know what that might lead to…

NEWS: mobile library / target in sight / public walk / F-book pix

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late January 2015
News of…:  mobile library under threat; life-saver funds closer to target; join a country walk round the village; court news; put your photos on Facebook …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area – including the Valentine’s Ball. Check out the Events page!)

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Our libraries’ uncertain future

You may remember that last year there was a major consultation on the future of Staffordshire’s libraries.  Our nearest one, the one at Blythe Bridge, was particularly at risk – until there was a large backlash from the library’s supporters.
However the exact future of Blythe Bridge Library is still to be finalised, though it does look like volunteers will be given a major role in helping to run it.  A final decision will be made by the county council’s Cabinet on 18th February.

But, there’s other worrying news for our local library services. It seems like our mobile-library services could also face cuts.  The mobile library visits Draycott once every six weeks, stopping at Stuart Avenue and The Old Post Office.
If you are concerned about the news, you may want to report your feelings to the Parish Council – which meets next on 16th February at the Church Hall.

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Life-saver on the way

Better news is the news from the local community action group, VVSM.  Shelagh Wood from the group tell us that the campaign to raise funds to buy a community defibrillator for the village has really taken off over the last couple of months – and the group are now just a couple of hundred pounds short of the target. Congratulations to them for their hard work!
A defibrillator is a piece of equipment which could be absolutely crucial if someone has a cardiac arrest.

Most cash raised has come from the proceeds of the Wednesday night pub quiz at the Izaak Walton, where up to thirty people, divided up into teams, regularly fight it out in a battle of wits!  Landlord Del has upped the stakes by doubling the prize money recently…

All new teams welcome, or, if you just wish to come along on your own, just ask to be invited to join one of the regular teams.  In fact … some of them could do with some help! (No names, no …)

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Take in some fresh air in Draycott

Another date for you diary is the guided walk around Draycott & Cresswell in three weeks time on Sunday 22nd February.   Austin Knott, who is well-known to many of us for his wicket-keeping exploits at the cricket club, is leading the walk.

Cows in Cresswell

Our charming countryside

It should be fun, as the idea is not to charge around at pace, but to enjoy the countryside and learn a bit more about the sights that surround us.

All are welcome (though no dogs, except guide-dogs, please) – and it’s free to join.  You don’t even have to book – just turn up at 10am at Blythe Cricket Club (just up the hill from the Izaak Walton).
The walk is in association with the Moorlands Healthy Walks Programme

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Court news

Two men who have been charged with possession of and intent to supply a Class B drug have each pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Charles Milner, (aged 24, from Rookery Crescent in Cresswell) and Douglas Malbon (aged 25, from Stuart Avenue on Draycott Level), have each been sent for trial at Crown Court, to appear on April 13.

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Facebook photos

Finally, if you like taking photos, and want to share them, why not add them to the Draycott in the Moors Facebook site?  It’s what is known as an open ‘group site’, so… all you have to do is join the group, and you can then start posting.

Ice - in a pool at Newton

Ice – in a pool at Newton

At the moment there are photos on the site of winter-weather in Draycott, such as the one above.

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Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you know of something that you’d like to us to mention, please email us.

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

Our library is under threat

If we don’t act now, the future of our nearest library looks grim …  That appears to be the message from campaigners who have been studying the latest proposals for the library service across Staffordshire.
The public has only a month left in which to make its views on the proposals known.

Library shake-up

We all know that libraries are changing.  Once you just went there to borrow a book, read a newspaper, or to study.  But now, there are all sorts of services.  At Blythe Bridge library, the nearest library to Draycott, there are now story-telling sessions, adult education sessions, public-meeting spaces, internet-access computers to use, and even a small art-gallery!

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Libraries must keep changing – especially as they do less book-lending and more of providing e-publications online.  Footfall in libraries is not what it was.
Staffordshire County Council also has to cut its budget by fifteen per cent over the next three years.

So the County Council is redefining its libraries.  The biggest four (now known as ‘Extra’ Libraries) are safe; and fifteen more (known as ‘Core’) will be reviewed.  But the remaining twenty-four (now to be known as ‘Local’) have an uncertain future, and may well have their services broken up or ‘re-assigned’ – and Blythe Bridge Library is in this third, endangered category.

The county council is saying that it hopes local communities, using volunteers, might agree to take on ‘Local’ libraries – or somehow split the current services offered by the library across various local groups.  Or, maybe, under the ‘Local’ idea, it will give us an enhanced mobile-library system, or find a new and smaller building.

Campaign

Of course, local people have not taken the news lying down.  A packed-out meeting last month saw objections flying thick and fast!   Forsbrook Parish Council has taken the lead in a campaign to resist major changes.
(Our own Draycott Parish Council is aware of the proposals, but has yet to take any major stand).

campaign doucument (opens as a WORD document) put out by Forsbrook PC makes interesting reading.  The figures in it show that not only is Blythe Bridge Library more popular than Cheadle Library, it also is considerably cheaper to run. Yet, strangely, Cheadle is safe!

Making views known

Nothing is yet decided.  The current proposals are only proposals; so the County is now ‘consulting’ the public.  (See: Library Future Proposals)
If you have views on the library service, locally or cross-county (or both), now is the time to make them known.
You can find the consultation sheets in any county library (Stoke-on-Trent libraries are separate to all this of course), or, if you prefer, you can fill in the consultation questionnaire online.  Closing date is October 7th.

Forsbrook PC is recommending that you answer Question 33 on the consultation document by ticking ‘Strongly Disagree’.

The sad thing is that questionnaires never quite get to the reality of the situation.
Think about it… with church halls and village halls now locked all the time; and with ‘community corner shops’ less and less in evidence; and with pubs getting more expensive; and with schools forced to exclude ‘outsiders’, where is there for a village community to freely meet and greet each other?  Only the library.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: big invite / Mum’s Day / old furniture / photo show

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2014 
We have news of…:  annual-gathering reminder / Mother’s Day gifts, locally / how to spring-clean for charity / photo exhibition’s last week
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Everybody invited…

Here’s a reminder that the annual gathering of the people of Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow takes place this Monday (31st March, starts 7.30pm).
An annual assembly, as it’s called, is when the people of the electoral area can gather to discuss and raise any issues they like.
This year, the Draycott agenda also includes the annual reports of our district and counrty councillors, a plea for more reporting of irresponsible motorists speeding through the district, and a request to the parish council to publicise their decisions.

The first part of the meeting will however be given over to the guest speaker – Inspector Jonathan Ward, the new commander of local policing in the Moorlands.
The ‘Electors Forum’, when people can discuss local issues, follows the various reports.

All welcome – though only local residents can address the meeting.

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No excuse for Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday (30th March), and, even if you have no transport, you really do have no excuse for not getting Mum a present – because Draycott Plant Nurseries is walkable from virtually anywhere within our area!  (It’s at the back of the Draycott Arms).

Mother's Day presents at Draycott Nurseries

Just a few of the possible Mother’s Day presents at Draycott Nurseries

The nursery has planters, shrubs and baskets that will all make for presents, at a range of prices.  If you prefer something more permanent, there is also the gift-shop section, which has ornaments, bird feeders etc.

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Art photography

It’s too easy to forget that we have an ‘art gallery’ on our doorstep – at Blythe Bridge Library – and it’s always worth dropping in to look at the new exhibitions.

Right now you can see a display of the work of local professional photographer Will Brown.  Will, who lives in Blythe, specialises in portraits, but his more creative work can be seen at this show; and some of it is really fascinating.

Nemesis-apocolyptco, by Will Brown

Will has captured the Nemesis ride at Alton Towers in its ‘apocalyptic’ aspect…

This is the final week of the exhibition – so try to make the show if you’re at all interested in photography.
(Blythe Bridge Library closes at certain odd times in the week – so do check their opening times before you set out).

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Spring clean with a conscience

Many of our neighbours seem to have been inspired by the sunnier weather to get on with their spring-cleaning.  Nearby charity shops will find they have a sudden influx of old woolly jumpers!

However, they’ve also told us that they’re puzzled over what to do about big items – like sofas, televisions etc, which are too big or heavy for them to deliver themselves.
Well, don’t despair…  In fact, there are some charities that will come fair distances to take away larger items, for free, even coming to Draycott.

In these days of food banks – the nearest one to us is the Cheadle Foodbank – it’s nice to know that someone is out there who will collect furniture, and then simply pass it on, free of charge, to people in need.  In North Staffordshire, ‘Furniture Mine’ fulfils that role.
(Be aware though that: if a Furniture Mine van turns up only to find the item is badly damaged, then they might charge a fee.  But, the way we look at it, it’s still a way to get rid of old stuff, and the fee does go to charity after all…)

The BHF charity warehouse in Stoke will also collect larger items.  They can take dressers, beds, you name it.  What’s more, they will also take electronic items, which is unusual. (They have specially-trained volunteers who will repair them if necessary). You can even book the collection of your items online!
The YMCA shop in Uttoxeter will also get its vans come to Draycott and collect large furniture items.

Of course, if you can manage to get your larger unwanted bits into your car and deliver it yourself, then, why not?  We think the nearest ‘warehouse’-type charity shop to us is the DMH store in Meir.  You can park outside the shop if you are unloading, or there is a municipal car-park just around the corner.

Finally, you may like your unwanted item to go to the ‘right’ person, and for free.  Well, you can use the Staffordshire Moorlands Freecycle Group, which is online only.  People can advertise any sort of items they no longer need, others reply via email, and then collect it from your home.
Also, people can advertise for items they require.
This is totally non-profit making and is done purely in the spirit of recycling.

However, if you have other suggestions – we’d love to hear them.  Just leave your thoughts in the comments box near the bottom of this page.

There you go – how to get a lovely, fresh–looking home, and help your conscience at the same time!

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.

(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to, and it is always kept private anyway and never published, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).