Burton & District Burton & District Chamber Patrons

Contact: Chris Plant T: 0845 6036650

President looks back

Next month, Nik Hardy (pictured) will hand over the reins of the presidency of Burton Chamber to Shaun Gray, European managing director of manufacturer Ginho. Mr Hardy would ordinarily have stood down at

the last annual general meeting, which took place six months ago. However, it was agreed at the AGM that due to coronavirus pandemic, he would stay on for a further period. With his tenure now ending, Mr Hardy, owner

of locally-based Hardy Signs, said: “As my period of three-year tenure as your Chamber president is coming to an end, I look back on what has been a challenging, exciting and transformative experience. “As you can imagine, it has been nothing like I

was prepared for. In my first week in this position, I was interviewed on BBC about the Trent Bridge closure and later on ITV about Covid-19. “Among many events, I was pleased to speak

at the opening of Grupo Antolin’s substantial expansion in Barton, leading to the creation of 150 jobs. “One of my priorities has been to strengthen

the link between Burton and Greater Birmingham, and I believe that we have made some good progress on that. Another priority has been to sign up patrons for the Burton and District Chamber. So far, we have signed up six

In brief

A group who usually provide a temporary home for international students when they study English at Burton and South Derbyshire College, have found that it’s good to talk. Even though the international students

have been unable to attend the college, it has introduced online courses for those wishing to develop their English skills. And the ‘international host’ providers

have offered their help to the learners by giving them an opportunity to have real conversations without being in the classroom. The students from Nippon Bunri

patrons, including Burton Albion FC and my company, Hardy Signs Ltd. “In my role as president, I’ve been involved in

many campaigns. One of them has been the Brexit support video series and a campaign where we submitted a question to the MPs that was answered live by Hilary Benn MP. “Throughout all this turmoil and disruption,

your Chamber has continued to thrive. Once it is safe to do so and the restrictions are lifted, the Chamber will be there to get its members back on track with lots of opportunities to network face-to-face across the region - here at Hardy Signs we are champing at the bit to get back to it.”

£22.8m to improve Burton

Burton has been awarded £22.8m by the Government to improve the town. Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed in his

Budget that the town would be one of seven to receive cash, as part of the Government's Town's Fund programme. The funding will allow the creation of a new

university learning hub in the town centre, a library and a community and enterprise hub at the Market Hall building. There will also be new pedestrian and cycle crossings over the River Trent and

improvements to towpaths on the Trent and Mersey canal. Ben Robinson, chairman of the Burton Town

Deal Board, which put together the submission for the funding, said: “We are now able to push forward with the projects that have been identified by the consultation process and I’m excited about what can be achieved and what an impact it can have on our town. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to improve and

preserve the heritage Market Hall and provide first class community facilities.”

Fund to back small businesses

A £2m loan fund for small businesses facing difficulties accessing essential finance to help overcome the impact of coronarivus has been launched. The three-year Staffordshire

and Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund will provide loans from £10,000 to £50,000 to companies across a range of sectors. It is the latest support

programme delivered by the county council as part of its ‘Staffordshire Means Back to Business’ strategy. It will see the county

working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and not-for-profit organisation BCRS Business Loans, which will administer the programme for both councils.

Staffordshire County

Council’s deputy leader, Philip White, said: “This is targeted support where it is needed most. We have worked

successfully with BCRS for a long time and will combine our efforts with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent for this round of funding.”

University in Japan are now taking part in video calls to the ‘hosts’, where they can discuss everything from their hobbies to their favourite foods.

YMCA Burton has hit out at youth services spending cuts, which it says have left provision at its ‘most critical point in history’. Paul Laffey, chief executive of YMCA

Burton, said: “Over the last 10 years we’ve seen an 82 per cent decline in local authority funding in the West Midlands for youth services. “Youth services exist to provide a sense

of belonging, a safe space and for young people to enjoy their childhood and teenage years. This time of the global pandemic has been particularly difficult on young people, with many suffering from isolation, loneliness, unemployment and increased mental health problems.”

Staffordshire County Council has called on motorway bosses to rethink what it calls a ‘wave of overnight closures’ during upgrade work on the M6 motorway. The closures have led to a huge amount

of disruption, particularly in Stafford, as motorists are forced to use alternative routes. Local councillor David Williams said: “We

are incredibly disappointed to hear that a further six nights of overnight closures for resurfacing are required. “We’ve also had no clear explanation on

why the work can’t be done during the existing closures already planned for this month or if any alternatives such as lane closures have been explored. It does feel that the additional nights of closure is the easiest option for Highways England, but the hardest option for residents in Stafford and our highways network.”

April 2021 CHAMBERLINK 39

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