Virgin Trains is to upgrade its WiFi Internet service next year, bringing speeds of up to 12Mbps to its train carriages. Passengers at Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, and Stafford will also be able to access the Internet using the 80Mbps and 100Mbps WiFi, set be installed by summer 2015 across all of Virgin Train’s managed stations.
CERAMIC poppies made out of clay and materials from Stoke-on-Trent have raised more than £15 million for armed forces charities. A total of 888,246 poppies, which went on display in the dry moat at the Tower of London, have now been sold.
SCHOOLS in Stoke-on-Trent are celebrating improvements after dozens more seven-year-olds grasped basic literacy and numeracy skills this year. Overall, 81 per cent of Potteries pupils achieved the national standard in writing, with 84 per cent reaching level two in reading and 88 per cent grasping it in maths. In Staffordshire, 91 per cent achieved level two or above in reading, 88 per cent reached this level in writing and 93 per cent achieved it in maths.
Plans to put the Peak District at the heart of a national cycling network have been given the go-ahead by the Peak District National Park Authority. The strategy will see expansion of the area’s network of trails and signposted routes as well as an improvement in cycling specific facilities. This will include The Staffordshire Moorlands Link, a 15 mile stretch from Stoke-on-Trent to the Roaches and Waterhouses. It is off road between Stoke and Leek along a canal towpath, and then will be on road with signage for the remainder.
A CHARITY set up to help locate missing people in Staffordshire is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Staffordshire Search and Rescue has now been up and running for a decade, providing 'vital' assistance to the emergency services.
New FM radio stations have been announced for Staffordshire, including Hitmix Radio which will offer a community radio service for the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme and its surrounding villages. Several local applicants were rejected due to their lack of FM frequencies, including Cre8 Radio at Staffordshire University, and 6 Towns Radio in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Wedgwood Museum collection has been "saved for the nation" after reaching its £15.75m target in a month. The collection features 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters and photographs. The collection is expected to remain on display at the museum in Barlaston, just south of Stoke-on-Trent.
NORTH Staffordshire teenagers are to pilot a new maths qualification which could become the main alternative to studying the subject at A-level. Around 60 students across Stoke-on-Trent College and Buxton and Leek College will be involved in the national trial over the next two years. They will earn a qualification equivalent to an AS-level, although much of the maths will focus on solving practical challenges and completing projects.
PARCEL firm DPD is delivering almost 100 new jobs to the Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent. The firm is set to move to a new 60,000 square foot warehouse at Etruria Valley, creating 92 jobs and safeguarding the futures of 100 workers who will switch from Newcastle-under-Lyme. The depot is earmarked for express parcel delivery firm DPD as part of a nationwide expansion.
THE number of new homes built in Stoke-on-Trent increased by nearly 10 per cent last year. A total of 436 properties were completed in 2013/14, up from 394 in the previous year. The amount of new employment land and retail floorspace provided in the city also increased in 2013/14.
The UK Family Hotspots Report 2014 has named the ST postcode (Stoke-on-Trent and area) as the third best UK city region in which to bring up a child. The new survey looked at key measures such as housing affordability and low crime rates, educational attainment, green spaces, amenities, culture and economic opportunities. The adjacent town of Cheadle was also in the Top 20 among the UK's small market towns.
North Staffordshire theatre goers will soon see improvements carried out at a popular venue after it landed almost £500,000 in funding. The New Vic Theatre is set to see 'significant' upgrades to its building, along with refurbishment work in the main auditorium and visitor areas.
Work is being done to tackle flooding and improve water quality in Stone. Funded by the Environment Agency, the work will place water-traps on the Scotch Brook, to slow down water flow during heavy rain. The town has flooded several times in recent years causing major disruption for businesses, shoppers and residents alike. The worst event was in 1987 when a culvert collapsed and 80 properties were flooded. Two culverts that carry water from the nearby Scotch Brook are thought to be the cause of the problem.
THE NUMBER of jobless people in North Staffordshire fell 41 per cent compared with a year ago. A total of 6,907 people claimed Jobseekers' Allowance in September - a fall of 4,732 compared to the same month last year.
A NATURE conservation charity is celebrating after winning £23,700 to revamp a beauty spot – thanks to a public vote. Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the Roaches, received a 34 per cent share of the vote for funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association. It means they can start making improvements to badly-eroded footpaths at the 975-acre reserve near Leek.
GRANTS have been made available to help owners of historic buildings in the Staffordshire Moorlands to care for the properties. The Moorlands Partnership is offering grants of up to £4,000 to preserve and enhance heritage buildings.
First Bus has invested the money in 10 new vehicles which will operate the number six route through Stoke-on-Trent from next week. Each £200,000 vehicle has capacity for 66 people and boasts a leather interior, LED lighting, an advanced heating and air-ventilation system and micro hybrid technology which allows it to qualify as a low carbon emission bus. This makes the bus 9.2 per cent more efficient.
PROVISIONAL results show yet another increase in Staffordshire children gaining the expected level 2B in reading, writing and maths in national Key Stage 1 tests. The majority of seven-year-olds in Staffordshire are performing above the national average in their tests. Eighty-three per cent hit the expected level in reading – two per cent more than last year.
ONE hundred high quality jobs are being created by materials testing company Lucideon as it expands its operations. The global company, which has its headquarters in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, is opening up a new facility in North Carolina to tap into the region’s expertise in materials science, and have better access to U.S. markets. The majority of the new roles will be based in Stoke-on-Trent. Last month Lucideon, formerly known as Ceram, opened new £1.5 million pharmaceutical chemistry and microbiology quality control facilities in Stoke-on-Trent.
The first local councils to offer help to people wanting to build their own home through the government's 'Right to Build' scheme have been announced. Under the Right to Build scheme, Stoke-on-Trent City Council will receive £74,500 to provide 72 hectares of serviced and 'shovel-ready' sites for self-build projects – enough land for up to 720 large homes.
North Staffordshire manufacturer JCB has given the campaign to save the Wedgwood collection a £100,000 cash boost. With match funding and further donations from the public, the Art Fund has raised more than £2.3 million towards its £2.74 million target.