tv We Are Stoke-on- Trent BBC News October 5, 2019 8:30pm-9:01pm BST
now on bbc news — rebecca wood brings you the highlights of a special week of coverage by bbc news from stoke—on—trent, featuring stories that matter most to the people in the town. and a warning — this film has flashing images. there's something about the juice and the actual soil of this area, which has allowed us to be one of the most creative places on earth. with what we've got, how can we make a difference? this is we are stoke—on—trent. welcome to stoke—on—trent, a unique city made up of six towns with a proud history and a strong sense of community.
for the next half an hour, you're going to get a glimpse into the lives of the people from this city. forfive days, the bbc has been asking the people who live here to help set the news agenda and tell us the stories that matter to them. and it's notjust been on television, it's been online, radio and social media too. so, welcome to we are stoke—on—trent. of the six towns that make up this city, this one, burslem, has always been my favourite because of its rich history. but sandwiched between manchester in the north and birmingham in the south, there can be a perception that stoke—on—trent is overlooked, so we asked some of the people living here about the issues that matter to them. welcome to the potteries museum and art gallery in stoke—on—trent. this is our third in the we are series, we've had we are middlesbrough, we've had we are bradford. and it's really attempts by bbc news to get out of london, to properly cover the regions of england as well as the nations
of the united kingdom. but really, it's about the audience talking to us about how we should be covering what is important to them and this will be a week of special coverage from stoke—on—trent, guided by these fabulous guests we've brought together in the potteries museum, about what they think is important, how they would like to see their city, the places they live, the places they work, how they want those issues to be covered. i think there's a great degree of fear in the city. we are scared of ourselves and our schizophrenic six towns nature. something beautifully crazy mad about the fact that's the way we work. i think it should be embraced, and as we sit here under the wonderful icons that decorate us, i do wonder sometimes, don't we realise that something about the juice and the actual soil of this area which has allowed us to be one of the most creative places on earth.
we are a place where we have taken the ground itself and made it into something which you can see all around you. not many places on this planet can actually argue that. i must admit, i'm quite shocked by this notion of the £10 bus return fare in a city that is not huge. the transport network has kind of separated the towns, in effect. so the towns haven't worked together because there is no connectivity, and again, particularly working with young people, the public transport is very poor in the city, so i think with work and leisure and creative activities, people really struggle to get around and get to places. one of the real problems, if you go from the southernmost town, longton, to, say, the northernmost town, tunstall, if you try to make that journey by public transport, it would take at least an hour longer than your trip up from london today. wow! how long would it take? probably about two and a half hours. ben, tell us a bit about,
do you live and work in stoke? and also, maybe from a younger perspective, what you feel you would like to see covered about this city. there's a lot more things in manchester and birmingham and places like that to do the people my age and younger, than to stay in stoke. it doesn't really have anything, there's not really manyjobs. a lot of people, my friends, who are finishing university and stuff, they are just going elsewhere, they don't want to have anything to do with stoke—on—trent. tell us what you think the main challenges are and what the issues we should be covering here. i think the biggest problem in stoke—on—trent is pride. years gone by, people worked on the potbanks, and they made beautiful things like that. at the end of the day, they were proud of what they made. now they are answering phones and filling supermarket shelves, there's no pride in theirjob at all. rachel, how would you like to see the we are stoke project? what should we be touching on? there are things like, i think
in stoke, you know, house prices. you can get on the property market, there is a better standard of living, a better family—life balance. this is a coal—mining place, and what is the greatest thing that coal produces sometimes? even though its power, is a diamond. crushed pressure, and there is a diamond in the city that needs to be brought out. 0k. on that positive note, thank you all so much. that was really, really enjoyable and invigorating and will really help us cover your great city, the positives as well as some of the challenges. charities come in all shapes and sizes, and this one, ruff & ruby in hanley, is not your average. they are one of the smaller charities that got in touch with us to tell us about the work that they are doing in the city. they don't often make the national headlines and they are working on increasingly tight budgets, but many offer support that's life—saving. hey, mummy! it's really nice to be in this family because i get to help mummy
a lot with her tablets. for six—year—old bethany and her twin sisters, looking after mum is part of everyday life. when mummy bangs her head, that normally sets off a seizure. we just have to leave mummy. when she's coming down the stairs and she falls, i always hold her so she doesn't fall. get changed, get her tablets, help with a lot of things that a normal nine—year—old wouldn't have to do. anneka suffers from multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. help from dad and daughters is life—saving. i'm so proud every day of my daughters. i am their mum, i'm meant to be the one that cares for them. not then caring for me. caring for mum on top of busy schooldays means the girls need a break, and that's where a local charity comes in. it gives my children time to not worry about mummy. they can go, they can play, they can do art. north staffs carers helped 6000 people last year. four years ago, the charity lost a bid for council funding
but support from volunteers and other grants keeps the door open. we've had some disappointments, obviously with funding, etc, and we had to adapt and move with the times. but we make a difference as a charity locally and we want to continue doing that. in the corner of stoke—on—trent‘s biggest shopping centre, is urban youth charity ruff & ruby. it's all about giving young people purpose, opportunity, hope. dawnie reynolds set it up to ten years ago from nothing. as a smaller charity, there are constant challenges. how are we going to fund this, how are we going to deliver that piece of work to that young person if we can't fund a salary for a member of staff? i'm a big believer that you don't look at what you haven't got, you don't look at that negative side, what you do is, you say, what have we got and with what we've got, how can we make a difference? regardless of where the money comes from, charities say they have to keep going for families. we do need a lot more help, and without them, my children wouldn't be who they are. love you to the moon and back.
stoke—on—trent is known as the potteries, with products made in the city still shipped around the world. but in recent years, the industry has changed. some of the big names have gone, and this bottle oven is one of just 46 left standing, when they used to be more than 2000. but that hasn't stopped craftsmen and women from the city still continuing to use their skills, as this group from burslem showed us. i've been on it, i would say, about six weeks. i've got no artistic skills whatsoever. i was known as the "washer—offer". it means it's good, but wash it off.
i used to meet up with linda for coffee and i said, why don't we do something where we are doing something creative? so we came along, and i had never done any art at all. i thought, i'm in the wrong place here, but tony said, no, i can teach you. and it's marvellous, he has. i love teaching and i'm very proud of all the girls. it's good to be able to come and do the same job at an easier pace. it's very relaxing. what's inspired me tojoin it is keeping the skill alive, because that, i think, is so important to this city. it's history. it is done now, but only for prestige pieces, so i think it's nice to do it.
colours, they're called colours, actually. if you don't look after them, they can soon go damp. once they‘ re damp, you can't really work them, so you have to keep them dry, look after them, keep them warm. like a little pet. it's notjust pots that made stoke—on—trent the city it is today, coal mining was big too. tributes to that industry are spread across the six towns. not far from here is chatterley whitfield colliery, which was once the largest open cast mine in europe and the first to extract a million tonnes of coal. the colliery is now crumbling, but a group of ex—miners are hoping to return parts of it to its former glory. i've been to meet them. these rusted and decaying ruins nestled on a north staffordshire hillside are a reminder of our industrial past. chatterley whitfield colliery was the powerhouse of the potteries — a record—breaking pit. for over 100 years, thousands of men
and boys spend their working lives underground in cramped and filthy conditions. and now some of those former pit men want to save chatterley whitfield and preserve this relic of steak‘s mining past. ——and preserve this relic of stoke's mining past. it's money that's needed now to preserve this heritage so future generations can appreciate what these miners went through. before mechanisation came along, it would have been the pick and shovel, and some of the seams were that narrow that they would've been on their side with the pick, probably seven hours a day. they went down at six o'clock in the morning, they would have spent all the time underground. the worst part of it actually is going down in the cage, really, because everything is just totally black. the cages travelled at 33 feet a second, and you saw the men there one second and then, where have they gone? yeah, it was frightening at first,
but you got used to it. the air that you were breathing may have been breathed by 200 men by the time it got to you, because the air only went one way, it went down one shaft and up another shaft along the coal face. so if somebody opened an orange at the bottom of the coal face, you would smell it at the top of the coalface — and be really jealous. it was dirty work. they would finish their shift black as the cold they dug. ——they would finish their shift black as the coal they dug. when you are working, if it was red hot you would just have a little pair of shorts on. so, obviously, all your body was absolutely black. and it was as dangerous as it was dirty. the sad part about it was when your mate had an accident and were killed or severely injured. but it's life down the pit. but despite the sacrifices made by generations of miners, cheap oil in the 1950s made coal less economic. collieries began to close and in 1977, chatterley
whitfield shut its doors. it was a big loss when this closed. a lot stayed in mining but were moved to different areas. they never got the attachment as they had when they were at chatterley whitfield. it wasn't just the people that worked at the colliery, it was the people that supplied the colliery, the wagon drivers, the train drivers, it was farmed out all over the place. though that way of life is long gone, these ruins still stand as a stark reminder of a once great industry, but time is running out to preserve this site and the people that know it best want to save it before it's too late — starting with the most salvageable parts, like the hesketh power house that brought coal from seam to surface. there's a lot of people here could do lots of repair work and get the thing back. you've got the old steam winder still there, and if they could actually get
access into that building, we could actually bring it back to life. i'd like to see it carry on and i'd like to see hesketh open to visitors. the powerhouse open so people can have a look inside, the winding engine and what everything was like in days gone by. their dream of securing a future for this giant of britain's industrial past will be the toughest of tasks, taking money, passion and the same hard graft they showed as working miners. thank you. if pits and pots are stoke—on—trent‘s heritage, what is the city offering people now? this is staffordshire university — i came here. it offers a whole range of courses, and we've been sampling the highs and lows of student life. student life has its ups and downs, especially with the great courses like this one.
0n staffordshire's theme park management course, students split their time between lectures on campus and alton towers theme park. the theme park industry worldwide is massive, so much so that alton towers is actually a closely guarded secret just how many they get through the gates each year. what we do know is it's well in the millions. do you get people being sceptical, perhaps? inevitably, you're going to get that from the study of visitor attractions and resorts, but they are such a key part of the leisure industry that we need people on resorts, in attractions, who understand how they work and how to operate. from real thrill to the virtual world, esports, basically competitive gaming, is the newest course at the university. it prepares students for work in the world's largest and fastest growing entertainment sector.
the esports industry, the gaming industry, the music and film combined. we are consistently talking to industry, and notjust chit chat, we are looking at the next growth, the next strategy that's being built in terms of esports. the course is hugely popular, with more than 100 undergraduate a year. we're going into casting, into analysing, broadcast. for me, i'm going into the journalism side of it. it's nothing to do with games, playing them, it's more learning how to bring them to an audience in a way that they will enjoy and have fun watching. 0ne course here might actually welcome being called a "mickey mouse degree". the first lecture of cartoon and comic art is a get—together at the pub, and shows how students can gain much more than practical skills. i was diagnosed with tourette's, and comics has improved my in every conceivable way. it's helped people identify who they are. i want to make work that people can
relate to and stuff. it seems like something so fun, i had never heard of it and i was like, well, it actually exists? it's a lot broader and more in—depth than a lot of people imagine and understand. you open up the ikea set, there is a list of instructions there. when you build your lego, there's always a list of instructions there. a map is a comic book to a certain extent. three very different degrees, but all with one thing in common. they are rooted in growing industries. so for the students, the sky should be the limit. you're watching we are stoke—on—trent. as part of the bbc‘s work in the city, we have been asking people about the stories that matter to them. this is our pop—up tent where people can come in and tell us what they think we should be reporting. and it's not just bbc television here. we are on radio, online and social media too. so let's take a look at some of the stoke—on—trent stories you can see on the bbc website. the violent, the criminal
damage, theft. i got into a drug, and around stoke is known being the death of people, that was monkey dust. i come down here in a foul mood, i would work with clay and then i would feel a lot better. i cook for the community. i think it is therapeutic. with tuition fees, accommodation and living costs, students in stoke need to find an average of about £17,500 a year before they can even start lectures. that may be why staffordshire is one of only a handful of campuses with a food bank on—site. some of them come with not even a pound to buy a drink, so to then expect them to for bus fare to go into hanley and then perhaps have money for something to drink orforfood, it's not going to work. ten years ago, reverend malcolm mycock knew what it was like to lose everything. i had to get to rock bottom. i literally hit that bottom
where everything had gone, it was all too late and i was just so sad, so depressed. the group adds a lot to our lives. to see it come alive, eyes light up. it does lift my spirits, because you're in a group where you're safe. if anybody comes here and sees everything for what it is, they see how friendly everybody is. stoke has got this drug problem, stoke isn't doing well here, shops are closing down, blah blah blah. the people in stoke are actually counteracting all of that. pokemon go in stoke—on—trent has brought the whole community together. i can walk down the street now and say hello to anybody. we walk around, we socialise, we share problems. and you can see more on those stories on the bbc website. we've had loads of people coming to us with their stories, but while we've been here, there's been a huge national story as well, with brexit and the future of the government at the top of the news agenda. it's given people living in the city a chance to have their say.
by tonight, most customers here will have swapped coffee for a pint, but the conversation will still be about brexit. it doesn't matter where you go, people talk about brexit. there are lots of people with lots and lots of views. what is incredible, we don't end up with the kind of anger we saw in the house of commons yesterday in our pubs. people seem to have an ability to get on and accept that people have differing views, and just want to get through the process now. keith brews his own beers for his 12 bars. 90% of his ingredients are uk sourced, so does he agree with michael gove that business is ready for a no deal? we're as ready as we can be, but without the crystal ball telling us what's going to happen post—brexit, how can we say we are ready? we don't know what will happen, so we can't be ready for every eventuality. it's impossible to know what flavour of brexit will eventually flow out of the tank, but stoke has dealt
with the loss of its pits and the erosion of its pots. for many local businesses, weathering this seems doable. julie's family have run a roofing business for 26 years. they're cautiously optimistic. we don't think it will have too much of an effect on us. the only problem, we've had to think about the timber we import from the eu. we've spoken to local suppliers and they've mentioned they are starting to stockpile now in case there's a shortage but again, we don't know the date we are leaving, we don't know if there will be a shortage and we don't know if there will a price increase, so we are in the dark. this is sort of one of our animation studios, probably the biggest. the only roofs that dan builds are virtual. working on a variety of different exciting projects. you may have seen their animations on any number of tv shows and they are currently working on a feature film. stoke has worked as home, largely due to talent from the university, but they worry that brexit may change that.
i think as a company we are small enough that we can ride the wave. am i worried for the larger industry of film and visual effects in the uk? yep. it really hasn't been handled well and i think there are things that could go badly wrong. all three businesses are doing what they can, if anything, to get ready. for what, they don't know. it will come down to stoke—on—trent‘s own resilience rather than any plans coming from westminster. so, this is not the end of your involvement. we are going to continue telling your stories across bbc news. we still want to hear from you. visit our website. you can follow us on social media as well, just use the #bbcwearestoke—on—trent. we are going to leave you now with a story that we all love, a women's choir that's transforming lives. goodbye.
it's the only place that i have ever been able to go and feel as normal as everybody else. for two hours a week i wasn't a cancer patient. just being able to come and sing and leave how i felt behind helped me to recover. # your true colours shining through...# it can take me sometimes 30, 45 minutes to leave the house. i've got 0cd, which involves a lot of rituals. i will face things, photographs, items, objects. # you're beautiful, likea rainbow...#
i was practically physically sick at the thought of letting anybody over the doorstep. when i walk out of my house and i get to choir, ifeel like i'm on stars in their eyes and i started trying to do something about my hoarding. i want to find myself a new husband. can i bring one in?! # i see your true colours. # and that's why i love you. # so don't be afraid. # to let them go...# i retired nine years ago and immediately i was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. # beautiful. ..# i saw a flyer for the choir. i like a challenge and thought why not, i love music. the big thing was, you didn't need to have an audition. my singing is so bad,
my husband said, don't sing at ourwedding! it gave me a focus. but the most important thing is the fact that no one knew me. i was completely anonymous, no one knew i had health problems and so no one asked me how i felt and was the treatment 0k, and how was i feeling? that meant a lot to me, i could be me without being someone who was ill. you just want to come and sing, it's just a happy place to be. # so don't be afraid. # to let them show...# i did try and take my life as a result of all the abuse and how it made me feel. someone said to me, look, don't come to choir any more, if you don't want to. i said, i have got to come to choir. it's like i was hanging on by my fingernails to a little bit of me. while we're at choir, we have a jolly good sing.
i'm concentrating on that. it's like you're free. music has such a powerful and giving thing to people. that's fantastic for me to think that it's helping. #ooh...# good evening. it may be drying out in northern ireland. get ready for a wet night with rain spreading across most parts. they could be some minor flooding and lots of surface water around to start the morning. here is the big picture. the weatherfronts
moving east overnight. clearing away from northern ireland, maybe one or two showers. elsewhere the rain sets m, two showers. elsewhere the rain sets in, it becomes heavier and more persistent overnight particularly across scotland and northern england. temperatures are not dropping away much, 9—12 degrees. not desperately chilly but still lots of rain around for some. the rain may be more hit and miss across western scotland by 9am. to the east of the pennines, fairly wet but some of the pennines, fairly wet but some of the pennines, fairly wet but some of the heaviest rain will be across east yorkshire, lincolnshire, parts of the east midlands. breezy around those western coasts, eastern coasts, sorry. a bright sunny start to the west, wales and south—west england. a few showers for western scotland, but many western areas having a better day than today. temperatures fairly similar to
today. still damp across eastern counties of england. that will clear on sunday night, turning misty in places. another batch of weather fronts set to move into the area of low pressure on monday. 0n fronts set to move into the area of low pressure on monday. on monday, could start of dry and bright but outbreaks of rain push northwards and eastwards. not as much rain as overnight, the rain fragmenting. in the west, brightening up for many but it will be a windy day. this changeable pattern will persist into next week. each subsequent dip we see another area of low pressure. a quick look at some city forecasts show there is always likely to be rain at times and gusty winds too.
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