Colors: Blue Color

Birmingham New Street has seen 52% more visitors since Ozzy the bull’s official homecoming to the station concourse last week. The much-loved icon of last year’s Commonwealth Games* was unveiled to large crowds in his permanent home under the station's atrium roof on Wednesday 26 July.

A public vote saw the bull named Ozzy, after Birmingham born and bred Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. His TV celebrity wife Sharon and older sister Jean were guests of honour at the big reveal live on TV.

Theatre director Michael Boyd has died from cancer. His career took him from training in Moscow to artistic directorships at the Tron Theatre Glasgow (1985-96) and the Royal Shakespeare Company, after joining as an Associate Director in 1996.

As an RSC Associate, he firmly established himself as an outstanding director. A stunning debut in 1994 of John Ford’s The Broken Heart was followed by an unforgettable A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as the first iteration of the Histories in 2000 – 2001, all in partnership with his long-term artistic collaborator, Tom Piper.

The UK and Scottish Governments have reached an agreement on an updated Fiscal Framework. Holyrood’s capital borrowing powers will rise in line with inflation, enabling the Scottish Government to invest further in schools, hospitals, roads and other key infrastructure that will help to create better paid jobs and opportunity in Scotland.  

The new deal maintains the Barnett formula, through which the Scottish Government receives over £8 billion more funding each year than if it received the levels of UK Government spending per person elsewhere in the UK. It also updates funding arrangements in relation to court revenues and the Crown Estate.  

Major improvements along the busy A4123 commuter route linking Wolverhampton city centre to Hagley Road via Dudley and Sandwell are to be delivered through at £30 million partnership of Black Country local authorities. 

Plans for the 17 km highway include a proposed segregated cycleway and upgraded footpaths, which will improve safety, provide greater priority at junctions, and encourage more people to swap cars for bikes, particularly on shorter journeys. Bus priority measures will also be installed along the route, allowing for quicker and more reliable bus services and to make them more attractive to commuters. 

Starwood Capital Group have announced that The Grand Hotel, in one of Birmingham’s most iconic buildings, will once again open its doors to the public, following a restoration that will return the city centre landmark to its former glory.

The luxury hotel, a Grade II* listed building, will be home to 185 spacious rooms and suites, retaining the building’s mix of French Renaissance, Victorian and Art Deco features and paying homage to its illustrious history. Original character features throughout the property have been painstakingly restored, including the stone façade, historic ceilings, mosaic tiled floors and grand staircase.

Authorities have been made aware of dangerous synthetic opiates circulating in the West Midlands. There is an increased risk of overdose and death because these synthetic opiates are stronger than usual, or because these drugs are contaminated with more dangerous substances.

A co-ordinated response is underway, spearheaded by the West Midlands Local Resilience Forum Strategic Coordinating Group. This partnership involves West Midlands Police, the Local Authorities, West Midlands Ambulance, HM Coroner, the NHS and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

Holiday activities provided through the Yo! Wolves summer programme are now in full flow, with thousands of children and young people signing up to take part. Among the many providers delivering holiday events is New Park Village Activities Network, which is offering sports and games, arts and crafts and team building events to children aged between five and 15 at Holy Trinity Church Hall.

The co-writer of BBC hit comedy The Vicar Of Dibley is bringing his show about living with Parkinson’s to Worcester on 17 August as part of the Worcester Festival.

Paul Mayhew-Archer’s comedy show, Incurable Optimist, will be at St Martin's Church at 7:30pm, along with special guest Colin Sell, the brilliant pianist from Radio 4 favourite I’m sorry I Haven’t a Clue. In 2011 Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which is a progressive neurological condition with over 40 symptoms and there is currently no cure.

Micromobility specialist Beryl is launching a brand-new e-scooter hire scheme on the streets of Birmingham. The first phase of the scheme will see 200 e-scooters made available to hire in the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, from today, with a further 700 to be rolled out in a phased manner by the end of September 2023.

Almost 1,200 sewage overflow pipes discharged in England and Wales’ most sensitive wildlife habitats for over 300,000 hours last year, all of which are supposed to be officially protected under conservation rules, Greenpeace’s investigative unit Unearthed can reveal. This includes 589 hours by Thames Water and 33,939 hours by Southern Water.

Unearthed mapped water company data on sewage spills in 2022 onto maps of England and Wales’ Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Area of Conservation (SACs), Special Protected Area (SPAs) and Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance) to identify every pipe that discharged within 50m of a protected nature site - Defra’s own definition of a “high priority” discharge site. 

SOFTSWISS, a cutting-edge iGaming software provider, shares its experience in implementing AI tools into its everyday practice. AI has proven to be a valuable asset, revolutionising real-time data analysis, player management, content personalisation, and design.

The Anti-Fraud team within SOFTSWISS' Managed Services helped operators save EUR 16m+ in 2022, having processed 61,810 requests. It is hardly possible to analyse such data volumes by hand. That is where AI stepped in.

With only 124 days left before COP28 UAE, COP President-Designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber today urged G20 nations to take a leadership role on climate action, and said that their decisions will have an enormous influence on the outcomes for all countries. In a speech at the G20 Climate Sustainability Ministerial Meeting in Chennai, Dr. Al Jaber expressed his concern that his call at last week's meeting in Goa to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 has "yet to find expression in G20 outcomes," despite its importance to the goal of keeping 1.5C within reach.

She was the first Black woman to be ordained as a vicar in the Church of England and she brought what was an illustrious, colourful career to an end as she said her last goodbye at the Holy Trinity Church of England venue in Birmingham. And, marking the effect Canon Rev. Eve Pitts had on the thousands of people whose lives she touched over the years, for those who managed to grab a spot where it was possible, her final service was testimony of what she meant to so many.

Birmingham City Council has published the Commonwealth Games Community Fund Impact Report. The impact report analyses the £6million investment from the city council which delivered on maximising the benefits of hosting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games Community Fund was created with the aim of connecting all areas of the city to the Games, providing a host of fun free-to-access initiatives that were designed, led and delivered by local people and organisations for their communities.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has produced a report that outlines the critical need for action to protect, promote, and conserve the world's under-threat natural environments and critically threatened species. RCU has identified these needs in collaboration with its strategic partner IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and they will be working together to address these important conservation issues.

Bringing the retirement community closer together and nurturing a sense of independence is at the heart of one leading UK retirement developer – and last week’s summer garden party is proof of that.

Described as ‘vibrant, lively and enjoyed by all’, retirees across Shirley joined local homeowners at McCarthy Stone’s Wheatley Place Retirement Living PLUS development to celebrate the warm weather. There was a hum of excited chatter and dancing as guests sipped summer tipples, enjoyed light refreshments and a live performance from swing singer, Sammy Dean, in the beautiful communal lounge.