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City Council shortlisted for two prestigious MJ Awards

Published: Tuesday, 2nd April 2024

Two services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council have been shortlisted for prestigious accolades at the annual MJ Awards.

The City Council’s Highways Direct Services team have been shortlisted for the Best Service Team category, with the Communities Together partnership shortlisted in the Care and Health Integration category.

With over 993km of road and 1127km of footway, the Highways Direct Services Team maintains the equivalent distance from the city to Zurich.

Best known for filling potholes, the Highways Direct Services team is the city council’s internal highways reactive team, covering everything from patching, drainage, fabrication, winter gritting, and call-out and they are the council’s team first on the scene in an emergency.

The Highways team has revolutionised how roads are repaired and performance gains achieved by using the Pothole Pro have propelled the activity rate from strength to strength and in three years, 18 years’ worth of road defects have been repaired.

A spokesperson for Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:

“Our Highways Direct Services Team really is the team that keeps the city moving. From winter gritting, to being the first team on site in an emergency, the Highways Teams are ready for anything. We are very proud to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award.  Huge congratulations, and thank you to the Team for your continued hard-work.”

Across Stoke-on-Trent there are 18 community lounges, under the Communities Together partnership which is an effective programme offering vital support to people who may be struggling with a variety of issues, such as loneliness, the cost of living crisis, mental health and wellbeing plus any housing queries.

Launched in 2021, Communities Together sees the City Council partner with a host of organisations such as VAST, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, and Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Health Trust (MPFT)s, Saltbox and Community Catalysts along with local community organisations to name but a few. The lounges host weekly sessions in a number of venues across Stoke-on-Trent, that give people the support they need to enable independence, at the heart of their communities.

The Care and Health Integration category recognises local authorities and health partners who display imagination and innovation in bringing together care and health services under one roof, working alongside local communities to the benefit of residents.

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesperson said:

“During 2023 alone, we have had over 1500 visitors a week to the Community Lounges across Stoke-on-Trent. While this shows that word is getting around about the lounges, it also shows there is active demand for these services in the heart of communities.

“Having someone to talk to in the lounges will often prevent a visit to GPs and A&E, helping to drive hospital waiting lists down.

“The Community Lounges continue to evolve, and with vital support from partners, we will continue to support the most vulnerable in our communities and look to create a healthier and wealthier Stoke-on-Trent.”

Ben Richards, Chief Operating Officer at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust added:

“The Communities Together project is a quality example of the impact of partnership, collaborative working and teamwork and Combined are proud to play our part. We’ve been delighted by the success of the programme and the welcome and involvement it has attracted from people across our communities. It really demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations come together to deliver for the people we exist to serve.  I look forward to it continuing to go from strength to strength.”

Jennie Collier, Managing Director of MPFT’s Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Care Group said:

“We’re proud to be part of the fantastic Community Lounges in Stoke-on-Trent, and this hugely deserved award shortlisting should come as no surprise to each and every resident who has benefited from the support they provide. Together we are making life better for the communities we serve, and Community Lounges are a testament to the power of working in partnership to improve peoples’ lives.”

The MJ Awards are not just a celebration of success stories. They provide the people in local government with the recognition they deserve.

Winning an MJ Award acknowledges the tremendous effort of those in local government dedicating themselves to supporting local communities, facing challenge after challenge, but never giving up in the face of adversity.

The MJ Awards are an inspiring event, with people coming together to witness each other's achievements and gain the recognition that their hard work has made a difference in the communities they serve.

Winners for all of the categories of the MJ Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday 21 June in London.