Residents are being asked for their views on public transport in Tamworth – with special emphasis on the bus service between the railway station, town centre and other areas of the borough.

And to help gauge people’s views, a new questionnaire has been launched to help get as many views as possible.

This piece of work is being carried out by Tamworth Borough Council’s Aspire & Prosper Scrutiny Committee, to help gain a better understanding of how people use public transport and what improvements they would like to see.

The committee – chaired by Cllr Tina Clements – wanted to carry out this work following an in-depth discussion about bus services currently operating in Tamworth.

Councillor Andrew James presented a report on public transport, which focused on the number of bus services operating in and around Tamworth, and looking at how many went via the railway station.

The committee heard that there are between 2.2 million and 2.6 million train journeys to and from Tamworth Railway Station every year – and improving bus services to the station could help residents’ access better employment opportunities.

Cllr Tina Clements, Chairman of the Aspire and Prosper Scrutiny Committee, said: “We are looking to find out how people use public transport in Tamworth and what would make people use it more.

“For example, if there were more buses going to the railway station, would people use the train more often? We are also asking people who don’t use the bus service what would make them more likely to do so.

“Public transport provides a vital lifeline for thousands of people and we want to make sure what we have available is right for our residents.”

The committee is made up of councillors from different political parties and puts issues affecting Tamworth under the spotlight. The new sub-group which has drawn up the bus survey is made up of Cllr Andrew James, Cllr Pat Standen and scrutiny committee vice-chair, Cllr Joy Goodall.

MVPI0626A huge free arts project which aims to inspire, excite and give people across the borough the chance to have a taste of the arts is set to launch in January – giving Tamworth people a real year to remember.

I Am Tamworth is the biggest and most ambitious arts project ever to take place in Tamworth, and is the culmination of two years of hard work by the borough council’s Arts & Events team.

Its aim is to encourage people of all ages who may never have attended arts events or taken part in anything ‘arty’ to get involved, by trying out different things for free, including dance, drama, visual arts, music and writing – and even a ground-breaking dance performance by one of the country’s top dance companies.

I Am Tamworth has also been timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Tamworth Assembly Rooms – although a lot of the events won’t be happening there, but out and about in the community and in venues throughout Tamworth.

The I Am Tamworth project has been funded by Arts Council England, which has awarded the Arts & Events team a £78,000 grant. It will involve accomplished artists from across the genres bringing their skills to Tamworth and working with the public.

It is split into 15 areas, each celebrating a different form of the arts. Projects throughout the year-long festival include:

  • I Am Dance – including a spectacular outdoor performance using Tamworth Castle and the Castle Grounds by award-winning dance company MotionHouse and Tamworth Dance Company.
  • I Am Visual Art – shops and empty spaces across Tamworth being turned into pop-up art galleries, creating a portrait trail across the town.
  • Trotters Trail – a trail of pigs throughout the town, inspired by the famous Tamworth Two. Pigs will be created by local artists, community groups, schools and local businesses.
  • I Am Music – raising the profile of the existing local music scene and encouraging new and emerging musicians.
  • I Am Words – creative writing and poetry project, encouraging the people of Tamworth to tell their own stories in their own words. It will include the publication of a book and the creation of poetry trails.
  • I Am Drama – a number of drama groups to be established across the borough to cerate short pieces about their areas. This will be brought together in a summer showcase called Tales of Tamworth.
  • I Am Heroes – inspired by the stained glass windows in St Editha’s church which were funded by the people of Tamworth to honour those who died in the First World War. Residents, working with artists, will be encouraged to create their own artwork based on the windows, which will be displayed in the church and Tamworth Library.
  • I Am Development – a series of events and workshops to support local artists and give them the chance to share their knowledge and skills.
  • I Am the Beat – giving families the opportunity to learn a new skill together.
  • I Am Art – the finale of the year-long festival will be a huge celebration which will put the community of Tamworth centre stage.

I Am Tamworth will be launched in January with a 12-week taster programme, giving people the chance to try out new things and develop new skills – all completely free and taking place in community venues throughout the borough.

Taster sessions will include arts & crafts, painting, dress making, street dance, songwriting, salsa, singing, guitar playing, creative writing and drama, as well as many more.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economy, said: “I Am Tamworth is the most ambitious arts project which has ever been put on in the borough and will give every single person in the borough a chance to have a go at the arts and try something different.

“We really hope that a large number of people will get involved in some way and enjoy it so much that they go on to take up an arts activity or join a group as a result.”                                                         

MVP_0036Tamworth is celebrating after being awarded silver gilt in the national Britain in Bloom campaign – with the Castle Grounds and the newly-refurbished war memorial in Amington Cemetery being singled out for special praise.

We heard the great news at a ceremony in Bristol last night (Thursday), where Tamworth was representing the Heart of England region in the Small City category of the campaign, run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Silver gilt is the second highest award which can be given – the next up is the prestigious gold award. We were entering the national campaign for the first time ever, so to receive such a high award is a good result.

Commenting on Tamworth in Bloom’s efforts, RHS judges said: “As a first-time entry, Tamworth has delivered a very creditable effort. The resources available for floral decoration were very well managed, highlighting several key locations. The Castle Grounds were planted in a traditional style using red, white and blue colours that are not always easy to work with.

“This very special year has been celebrated in many ways, but the refurbished war memorial was a poignant reminder of those lost.”

Tamworth was chosen to represent the region in the Small City category of the Britain in Bloom campaign after being named as category winner in the regional campaign last year. Two judges from the RHS visited Tamworth at the beginning of August and were taken on a tour of the borough, where they saw the results of years of hard work and dedication from dozens of charities, schools, community and volunteer groups.

This year’s theme was Lest We Forget, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and landed Tamworth a fifth consecutive gold in the Heart of England in Bloom awards.

The other Small Cities in Tamworth’s category were Bath, Bracknell, Chorley, Crawley, Derry City, Harrogate and Loughborough. Bath was named as the category winner and will now go on to represent Britain in the Europe-wide awards.

Cllr Michelle Thurgood, Cabinet member for Environment and Waste Management, said: “We are delighted and honoured that all the hard work that has gone into making Tamworth look so beautiful has been recognised by the Britain in Bloom judges with the awarding of a silver gilt. It is a huge tribute to all the wonderful staff and volunteers who give so much of their time to help make Tamworth the beautiful floral town it has become.”