We have some excellent special needs schools here in Dudley such as Pens Meadow - I was proud to open their post-16 building 4 years ago. The issue now is that the school is spread across two sites which makes it difficult for the team to provide the care and education the children deserve. We are going to build a purpose built site that the kids deserve here at Tiled House Lane. Pleased to be joined in this episode by
Headteacher Marie and Cllr Patrick Harley.
Spring is coming and things are slowly looking up. Over the past year we’ve spent millions on helping people, families and businesses get through the pandemic. Dudley Council have done a fantastic job and I'm pleased to be to be joined by Council Leader Patrick Harley and Cabinet Member for Finance Steve Clark in this episode.
Our local schools are doing a fantastic job taking lessons online during this challenging time. I recently joined Netherton CofE virtually for a Q&A session and the teachers and pupils certainly put me through my paces! Listen to the full session in this episode.
Dudley’s doctors and nurses and support staff are doing an incredible job in rolling out the vaccines locally. But they are still under a lot of pressure from Covid right now. Sara Davis is a matron heading up the local vaccine programme and Diane Wake is the Chief Executive of Dudley Group NHS Trust. They join me in this episode to explain their major vaccination efforts and what they are dealing with. We can help them by staying at home.
One positive to come out of the past few difficult months is that many people in the Black Country are taking the time to have a bit of a reset. They’re rethinking their career and taking the opportunity to retrain. And we’re lucky to have Dudley College of Technology, Black Country Skills Shop, and employers like Stiltz Lifts who are providing fantastic opportunities for local people. They join me in this episode.
Brierley Hill has massive potential and work is underway to regenerate it and turn it into a successful and thriving area. The Metro extension will help bring people to the area, and our bid has recently been submitted for funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund. It’s a community effort - and here’s an update with Mayor Andy Street, Dudley Councillor Patrick Harley and Tim Sunter from the Brierley Hill Community Forum.
One of my priorities is to make sure local children with speech and learning difficulties get the best education and care possible. Pens Meadow School is doing an incredible job with their pupils, despite Covid having a big impact. The school is now preparing for September and I caught up with Headteacher Marie Hunter and local dad Steve Hermon.
National Express is our biggest local private sector employer employing some 350 drivers, engineers and back office staff. They’re doing a big job preparing to keep passengers safe as they resume and increase their services post-Covid. I caught up with Richard Smith about their plans.
The Covid crisis has seen Black Country Food Bank work overtime and help some 7,000 people over the past few months. You can help Jen and the team by donating food items or volunteering. Jen Coleman from the food bank joins me in this episode.
The music and entertainment venue Red By Night started up just a few months ago in Brierley Hill, and then suddenly covid hit. Vicki Wilkes joins me to talk about how she's coped, some of the help she’s received as she navigates her business through this difficult time, and what the venue may look like in the post-covid world.
Whether it’s cashflow, budgets or keeping staff and customers safe, Black Country businesses will have a lot to plan and juggle as we begin to leave lockdown. Black Country Chamber of Commerce is working tirelessly to help, and I'm pleased to be joined by Corin Crane.
Kingswinford Royal British Legion do an amazing job year round supporting our service men and women, veterans and their families. Now, they are bringing together local volunteers to deliver essential items to people in need during this lockdown. More here with John from the club.
Social distancing is especially tough on families with loved ones receiving end-of-life care right now. The Mary Stevens Hospice is doing a great job helping patients and enabling their families to stay in contact through technology. I'm very pleased to be joined by Claire Towns from the hospice. Once again, forgive the audio quality as we have these conversations remotely to keep everyone safe in this pandemic.
We are coming together during this horrible COVID-19 outbreak and showing that real “Dudley Spirit”. The perfect example is the team at Russells Hall Hospital who are working heroically for their patients. Diane Wake, Chief Executive at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, talks to us about about her team's efforts during this difficult time. Once again forgive the audio quality as we record these remotely to keep everyone safe.
As we deal with the coronavirus, I am beginning a series of short community information podcasts which aim to provide useful information and advice for people in Dudley South. In this episode, I’m joined by Deborah Harkins, the Director of Public Health at Dudley Council. They are doing fantastic work to help our community get through this. Forgive the audio quality as this episode has been done remotely in order to keep guests safe and we are getting information out in as real time as possible.
Join me from the bustling Brierley Hill market as I get together with the local butcher, a property developer, the Chamber of Commerce and market management to discuss ways in which we can help our area thrive. Business rates, red tape and town centre investment all on the agenda!