Colors: Purple Color

A Worcestershire company that has developed the world’s first smart technology electric actuator to control industrial valves has officially launched its unique product and already has a full order booked for 2017. Malvern-based Smart Actuator Company, producer of the energy efficient smart technology electric actuator, returned to Valve World in Dusseldorf in December to launch the product and two other models.

The Clearing is a vision of the future, coming to the grounds of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park from March to December 2017. British artists Alex Hartley and Tom James are creating a living, breathing encampment in the shadow of a stately home on the shores of an idyllic lake, where people can come together to explore at first hand a future afflicted by climate change. And they need your help.

Leading home assistance provider HomeServe has been named the UK’s best home emergency cover provider for the third year running – and been honoured with a rare “Triple Gold” award – by independent personal finance website Moneynet. Moneynet handed Walsall-based HomeServe the Triple Gold award as part of its seventh annual personal finance awards, which recognise the UK’s top financial services providers over the last 12 months. HomeServe has achieved top spot in the category in 2015, 2016 and now 2017.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is celebrating Futura Design as Member of the Week after 12 members of staff recently took part in an extensive first aid training course at their premises in Oldbury, highlighting the business’ commitment to upskilling their workforce. Led by Geraint Tilliot of Lifeline First Aid Training, the Futura team learnt a wide range of first aid skills during the course. After grasping the basics of CPR, the team spent time practicing their technique on the state-of-the-art first aid manikins, which were provided by Lifeline.

Chamber Expo – showcasing the region’s talents and business expertise - is back for 2017. More than 500 delegates and 80 exhibitors are expected to attend Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Spring Expo, which is taking place on Friday 3rd March at the Birmingham Conference and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in Hill Street. GBCC Chief Executive Paul Faulkner said: “Chamber Expo is a fantastic opportunity for delegates and exhibitors from across the region to showcase their businesses."

Leadership today is evolving from control to empowerment, competition to collaboration. In this fast changing world, there’s a need a new brand of leadership - leaders with vision and crucial skills of leading people in a globalised environment. This 2-day experiential course, held in the Zain Innovation Campus ZINC, Amman, Jordan on February 17 and 18 is about ‘Aspiring Women Leaders Maximising their Potential,’ on behalf of The Middle East Association, and raising the game for themselves and for others. The core theme running through the entire programme is resilience and empowerment.

Just weeks after announcing its strongest ever financial year, Midlands-based PKF Cooper Parry has made 68 new appointments across its two Midlands offices, taking the total number of new jobs created over the past twelve months into three figures. The firm is the fastest growing firm of accountants in the UK and is enjoying an unprecedented number of new client wins.

Stallholders from Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market have made their annual donation of left over foods to local charities. The market closed on the 29th December, and traders donated produce – such as ham, doughnuts, waffles and sausages – which were distributed to charities via a food bank at Holford Drive Community Sports Hub. Birmingham City Council worked with Heart of Birmingham Community Sport & Physical Activity Network (HoB CSPAN) to provide the food to charities.

The City of Wolverhampton Council has secured funding totalling £207,000 to help more people with learning disabilities live independently in their own homes. It was successful in its bid to the Department of Health's Housing and Technology Capital Fund to put technology at the heart of the care and support provided to individuals. The council will use the funding to increase people's independence through greater use of the latest technology, adapting existing supported accommodation living properties and working with developers who are establishing new services in the city.

Antique hunters from near and far can now find a new treasure trove centre at Wolverhampton’s historic Bantock House. ‘Antiques at Bantock’ has opened up at the visitor attraction following a year of successful monthly antique fairs run by Victoria Rowson and her husband Paul. Victoria, who ran an antique business in Bridgnorth, says the monthly fairs proved so popular that it made sense to open a shop on site at Bantock House in Finchfield Road.

New figures from VisitEngland show that Brits spent a record-breaking £45.3 billion on day trips across England in the first eleven months of 2016, setting a new record for the survey.  January to November 2016 also saw the highest number of day trips taken in the first eleven months of the year at 1.35 billion visits in England. The figures show that the number of domestic tourism day trips in England from January to November were up 14% on the same period the previous year with spend up 7%, both records for the first eleven months of the year.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to a year of developing and maintaining relationships. With this in mind, the Chamber is delighted to announce the return of the successful Strategic Leadership Programme, an exclusive programme to develop the leadership and management skills of CEO’s, MD’s and Senior Managers. This course is aimed at supporting business growth and inspiring leaders throughout the region.

Citizens wishing to have their garden waste collected in a clean and convenient way can sign up to Birmingham City Council’s 2017 service at a reduced rate if they order online. The annual subscription charge is £40 for 20 fortnightly collections from early March to late November/early December – with a discount of £2 for all orders (online), reducing the cost to just £38. As standard, subscribers will use a 240 litre bin with a brown lid. Residents can make multiple orders if they need more than one bin for their garden waste.

Birmingham Airport has been named the world’s most punctual airport in 2016 by air travel intelligence company OAG, with 91.28% of arriving and departing flights operating on time. With over 100,000 scheduled flights from Birmingham Airport last year, the most punctual route was to Dublin, boasting an on-time score of over 95 per cent. The UK airport beat contenders from countries such as Japan, Brazil, America, Germany and Australia to claim the global crown.

Passengers returning to work this January are benefitting from a more reliable and safe railway after a programme of investment and upgrades across the network over Christmas and the New Year. On the route from London Euston to Carlisle via the West Midlands and north west, more than £22m was invested to upgrade track, install new footbridges and replace railway bridges as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

The Government announcement, which gives the green light for the construction of thousands of Starter Homes, is welcome but greater challenges lie ahead if we are to solve our housing crisis, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned.  Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “It’s great to see the Housing Minister kick off 2017 by giving the green light to the first Starter Homes."