Colors: Blue Color

Work has begun on a major overhaul of playing fields in Bilston following a community consultation. City of Wolverhampton Council and developers Haystoun Construction Limited have started work on transforming Prouds Lane Playing Fields.

Improvements will include a new children’s play area with inclusive equipment to enable children of all ages and abilities to play together. Existing football pitches will be renovated and outdoor gym equipment will be installed to help local people boost their fitness levels.

Leading developer Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands has made a donation of £1,000 to cancer charity, Lauren’s Legacy.

Heage-based Lauren’s Legacy was formed in August 2019 in memory of Lauren Elliott, who sadly passed away at the age of 22 after a five-year battle with Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer. The charity is run by Lauren’s parents and friends.

The restoration of a two kilometre stretch of the River Stour in the Black Country is set to get underway thanks to £100,000 from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Community Green Grants scheme. Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust (BBCWT) will use the money to extend its successful Love Your River Stour project along a stretch running through Cradley Heath and Lye.

A female activist known as the "founding spirit" of the Notting Hill Carnival is being honoured with a blue plaque.

Equality campaigner Claudia Jones pioneered the Caribbean festival in London. Her former home in Vauxhall, Lambeth, will be bestowed with the plaque.

Ms Jones is one of six people being recognised by English Heritage for their impact on art, music and social reform.

A former Birmingham Poet Laureate has used her skills to host a grief writing workshop for staff at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.

Charlie Jordan hosted the History of Birmingham quiz round at the West Midlands Brain Game in October 2022. And having been hugely impressed by the work of the charity, offered to visit the hospice, and run the workshop for its team of specialist bereavement counsellors and volunteers.

Moseley has become the latest area to be added to the growing West Midlands Cycle Hire network following the introduction of new docking locations around the suburb. The region-wide bike share scheme has seen more than 100,000 users sign up and almost half-a-million rides taken since launching in spring 2021.

Three statues thought to be the first sculptures depicting Black British people on display in England are set to return to Brixton station later. The life-size bronze figures, called Platforms Piece, were first installed on the platform in 1986 before being removed in 2016 for refurbishment.

Created by Kevin Atherton, it depicts three Brixton residents of the time and is Grade II listed. The original statues will be joined by a new one named Joy II.

In the run up to Valentine’s Day next month, shoppers in the UK’s town and cities are being urged to vote for their most loved local businesses to celebrate Love Local Day.

Now in its fifth year, #LoveLocalDay, an initiative led by local shopping platform, ShopAppy.com, comes at a time when many small independent high street businesses are under immense pressure due to soaring inflation and energy bills, and reduced consumer spend.

A resident at a care home in Solihull celebrated her 100th birthday with a surprise party with family and friends. A very special birthday celebration took place at Care UK’s Blossomfield Grange, on Worcester Way, when resident Esme Turner, turned 100 years ‘young’.

To celebrate, the care home team decorated the lounge with balloons and banners, and the home’s talented head chef baked a special birthday cake for everyone to enjoy at a surprise afternoon tea party.

Unclaimed benefits and grants worth £500,000 have been identified in less than three months by council staff during special sessions for citizens at two Neighbourhood Advice and Information Centres.

Since November, the sessions – specifically for cost of living issues – have been held in Erdington and Northfield, with 283 people assisted to maximise their income during these tough times through benefits and grants worth a combined, estimated, total of £509,919.

Time is running out for farmers to apply for grants of up to £30,000 that can be put towards measures that reduce water pollution and protect the environment.

Severn Trent is issuing a final call for applications for the latest round of its Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS), in which farmers can apply for match funding grants towards farm improvements that reduce water quality issues while supporting farm productivity.

People around the world, including Americans, have celebrated the Lunar New Year with festivals, parades and temple visits during which they will ask for blessings. While most will be welcoming the Year of the Rabbit (a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity), Vietnam is moving into the Year of the Cat (strength, resilience and determination).

With plummeting temperatures due to return this week, it is important to make sure our four-legged friends are prepared for the cold. After a fairly mild Christmas for most across the UK, temperatures are set to drop below 0°C over the next few days. 
 
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is issuing guidance to owners about how to keep your dog safe and warm during the cold snap, including how to avoid potential hazards on your winter walks. 
 
Runa Hanaghan, Deputy Veterinary Surgeon at Dogs Trust, said: “There are lots of simple things you can do to help your dog stay safe and warm during cold weather, however, there are things owners need to watch out for too which may be hazardous for our dogs. Winter walks can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to exercise caution when conditions worsen by keeping your dog on a lead and taking steps to improve their visibility with the darker nights”
 
Winter Health Advice:

1.     Antifreeze is highly poisonous to dogs. Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills immediately. Always seek veterinary advice if you are concerned your dog may have licked or ingested any, from the spill or their paws.

2.     Never leave your dog in a car during extreme weather, hot or cold.

3.     Make sure you wipe your dog’s legs and feet when you come indoors after a snowy walk. The grit from the roads can irritate their feet. Grit can also be dangerous if your dog licks its paws. Again, seek veterinary advice if you are concerned your dog may have licked or ingested any. 

4.     Particularly important if you have a puppy, short-haired or old dog in providing them with a sensible winter coat to stay warm when you go out. Consider letting your dog's winter coat grow to improve their warmth, it can still be kept brushed and untangled even when it is thicker.


Winter Walking Advice: 

1.     Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing heavily. Snow can be disorientating so they might easily become lost.

2.     Make sure your dog is microchipped, the contact details are up to date, and your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag whilst out walking, so if they do get lost, they can be reunited with you.

3.     As the nights are dark, consider using a reflective collar and lead or a high visibility coat or flashing collar to increase your dog’s visibility in the dark. Owners can use a torch and wear high-vis jackets too!

4.     Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds. The ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them; call the emergency services immediately. 

5.     Regularly check that your dog’s leads, collars, and harnesses are all functioning safely and not at risk of wear and tear damage during winter weather. 

6.     Snow can freeze between dog’s paws and owners might find ice stuck to the bottom which can be uncomfortable and make it difficult for them to walk. Rinsing and drying their paws after walks is very important.

 
Keeping your dogs active in winter:

1.      If you are spending more time indoors if the weather's bad, always make sure your dog has plenty to do – long-lasting tasty chews, or puzzle-toys such as durable food-releasing toys and snuffle mats are useful for giving your dog something enjoyable to do without needing your constant attention.

2.     You can provide entertainment for your dog when parks are closed by walking different ways to your normal route, so they can experience new sights, sounds and smells.

3.      Incorporate training sessions within your walks - take treats with you and reward your dog for doing a trick along each street you walk down. Bring their favourite toy and have a game outside if there is a safe place to do so while they are safely on-lead. 

4.     You can play these types of games indoors too – try hiding their toys for them to search for and playing with them as a reward when they find them.

5.      Treat your dog to some fun and games that are educational and valuable by enrolling them in a Dogs Trust Dog School training course! We offer short training courses for puppies, adolescents and adult dogs teaching important skills in a fun and positive environment. 

Birmingham Hippodrome, Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham and Bullring & Grand Central kick started Lunar New Year celebrations by paws-ing for a picture with Pom Pom, a giant ten-foot panda. Pom Pom was joined by James Wong, Chair of the Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham, Dan Murphy, General Manager at Bullring & Grand Central and Matt Evans, Festivals Production Manager at Birmingham Hippodrome.

A United Nations team examining the experiences of people of African descent will visit the UK for the first time in a decade, including holding a conference at Birmingham City University on Monday 23 January 2023.

The UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD), who undertake a fact-finding mission to the UK every 10 years in a bid to understand the situation of people of African descent in the country, will meet with members of the public to identify challenges and to make recommendations for how these could be resolved.