Colors: Blue Color

In a follow up to their History, Heritage and Identity Symposium series launched in the autumn of 2020, three churches in the United Kingdom with predominantly large, black congregations, are staging another public conversation, this time interrogating the present-day health and wellbeing of people of Caribbean descent living in the UK.

“As pastors and counselors in our churches, we are acquainted with the stories of hurt and pain faced by many our congregants, who feel disadvantaged and disenfranchised from the best of the health care system because of perceived stigma and racial bias”, asserts Bishop Tedroy Powell, who presides over the Church of God of Prophecy, UK.

“This is not an anachronism, it is present day reality for not just our members on record, but for so many people of colour in the African Caribbean Diaspora, who still feel disadvantaged in a proclaimed multiracial society”, maintains Bishop Powell, who leads the planning for the virtual Symposium being staged in collaboration with the University of the West Indies and scheduled for April 22 at 5pm GMT.

The UWI, ranked by Times Higher Education as among the Top 20 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean, will present research data and perspectives from its Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR) on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their prevalence and impact on the people of the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

CAIHR is the largest research entity in The University of the West Indies (UWI), with roots dating back to the 1950s when the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) commissioned pioneering research in severely malnourished children in the Caribbean. Today, CAIHR is the focal point of The UWI’s growing strength in health research innovation and interventions in nutrition, child development, chronic lifestyle diseases and sickle cell disease.

Professor, Sir Hilary Beckles, the Vice Chancellor of the UWI is confirmed to deliver another riveting dissertation on the unique ‘burden of disease’ borne by Caribbean people and their descendants, to be followed by a star panel of medical experts from the UK and the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, who will provide scientific perspectives and insights to guide how they overcome persistent health challenges.

Event Details

The media and general public are invited to attend this virtual symposium:

When: Thursday April 22, 2021          

Time: 5:00 pm GMT, 11:00 am Jamaica time.

Where: Streamed online via YouTube:

REGISTER for the event at this link:            


The History, Heritage and Identity Symposium series was initiated by the Church of God of Prophecy (UK), The New Testament Church of God and The New Testament Assembly in 2020 out of Christian conviction, and a transformative vision aimed at empowering people of African Caribbean descent and ancestry to be confident in their cultural heritage, and to lead fulfilling lives in the United Kingdom. These public symposia are therefore designed to construct the “intellectual infrastructure for a high-quality conversation” on the following touchpoints:

·         Education for Transformation

·         Race Relations and Social Justice Advocacy

·         Health and Wellness through Research and Knowledge Sharing

·         UK-Caribbean Trade and Business in the Post-Brexit Environment.

The central and local Government of the United Kingdom, companies and organisations in the Private, Public and NGO sectors, as well as individuals are welcomed to partner with this effort to build bridges of understanding and harmony in British society.

As part of its preparations for the launch of the Clean Air Zone on 1 June 2021 Birmingham City Council has to date issued just over £1 million in Clean Air Zone grants to Birmingham-licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

The grant scheme, which aims to support Birmingham-licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers to upgrade or replace vehicles that do not meet the emission standards for the Clean Air Zone, is part of a larger £35 million package of financial incentives to support Birmingham’s transition to cleaner air. 

Almost £15 million of this funding is dedicated to supporting Birmingham’s taxi community. To date Clean Air Zone hackney carriage and private hire scheme has supported 816 vehicle owners with grants to the value of £1,139,740. 

Stephen Arnold, Head of Clean Air Zone at Birmingham City Council said: “We recognise the challenges Birmingham’s taxi drivers and some other groups could have in getting ready for the introduction of the Clean Air Zone on 1 June.  The package of support available, which includes temporary exemptions and financial incentives, will help to make this change easier. 

“We are pleased with the progress made so far.  But with the launch of the Clean Air Zone just a few weeks away we are urging drivers and fleet operators to visit the Brum Breathes website to check whether or not they will need to pay the Clean Air Zone daily charge.  And if they do need to pay the charge they can also find about the various packages of support that they may be eligible to apply for.”

Owners of Birmingham-licensed Hackney Carriage vehicles may be eligible for a financial incentive if they are the registered owner or keeper of a hackney carriage taxi that will be charged and are licensed by Birmingham City Council as a Hackney Carriage driver.

Support measures include:

·         £5,000 (spread over four years) towards the running costs of an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) taxi

·         £5,000 (one off payment) towards a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) solution for an existing vehicle

·         £5,000 contribution towards a Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 diesel (or better) compliant vehicle, unless eligible for the government’s plug-in grant.

Private Hire drivers may also be eligible for financial support if they are the registered owner or keeper of a private hire vehicle that will be subject the Clean Air Zone charges. They also need to be licensed by Birmingham City and be the registered owner/keeper of that vehicle since before 10 September 2018.

Support measures include:

·         Up to £1,000 towards an upgrade to a compliant Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 diesel vehicle or better. The vehicle must be no more than three years old as of January 2020

·         Up to £2,000 towards the purchase or lease of a hybrid vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that is not eligible for the Government’s plug-in car grant and meets the Birmingham Taxi Licensing age requirements

·         Subject to purchase up to two annual payments of £1,250 towards running costs of a fully electric vehicle or long range plug-in hybrid vehicle

Drivers are encouraged to first check if they will be subject to Clean Air Zone charges before applying for support. This can be done with help from the Government’s Vehicle Checker tool.

Five vehicles have been impounded in Hornsey and Wood Green for Blue Badge fraud following a joint operation by Haringey Council and the police.

One badge was being used by an individual even though the actual badge holder is deceased whilst four further stolen badges were identified. In addition, a fake Blue Badge and one that was lost were also picked up in the sweep that took place last week across various streets in the area. 

All those caught received a £130 penalty whilst those whose cars were impounded received a further £200 fine. Blue Badges offer a permit for those with mobility problems or hidden disabilities, allowing them to park closer to their destinations. 


Haringey Council, in London, works hard to ensure those that are entitled to a badge receive one, but it is also determined to crack down on Blue Badge fraud.

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We will not tolerate the misuse or fraudulent use of Blue Badges. Doing this makes it more difficult for those that are not able bodied to park as it takes up their spaces.

“If you are aware of anyone using a Blue Badge who should not, please contact the council.”


Anyone who has had their Blue Badge stolen is exempt from parking restrictions for three weeks whilst they wait for a replacement badge. This exemption is applied automatically once the council is made aware of a replacement badge application.

Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has been awarded the Investors in People silver standard, demonstrating its commitment to investing in local people and excellent management practice.

Since 1991 Investors in People has been a nationally recognised accreditation, demonstrating employer excellence and outstanding places to work. In line with the charity’s dedication to continuous improvement, the organisation has yet again been accredited, this year achieving the silver standard.

Employees of the charity were once again overwhelmingly positive about their experiences with Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, and the assessor’s report noted a clear passion, enthusiasm and pride for working for the lifesaving service, which tends to more than 4,500 critically ill and injured people annually whilst also undertaking significant community outreach programmes to support with health and disease education.

Hanna Sebright, chief executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “People are at the heart of everything we do. As well as providing the very best advanced pre-hospital care to patients, the welfare and support of the aircrew and charity team are our top priority.

“Everyone has their part to play in helping to save lives across the region, and we are exceptionally proud this has been recognised once again by Investors in People.”

There is overwhelming public support for more devolution to the West Midlands according to Centre for Cities’ polling by Savanta ComRes ahead of next month’s election.

Just four years after the establishment of the West Midlands Mayor, 80% back giving more power to the office holder. Almost half (46%) support giving the Mayor more responsibility for providing affordable housing, while significant numbers back the Mayor having a bigger role in supporting business (42%) and providing access to skills and training (40%).

Just 5% of the public oppose further devolution to the West Midlands Mayor.

The polling was commissioned to understand the impact of devolution and the new office of Mayor since the elections in 2017. Seven in ten (70%) people polled in the West Midlands were aware that the city region has a mayor.

30% could correctly identify Andy Street has the incumbent Mayor – an eight percentage point increase in the past year. At 30% Andy his local public recognition in the West Midlands is higher than the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region (22%) and lower than the mayors of London (60%) and Greater Manchester (63%) in their respective cities.

People in the West Midlands were also asked to consider how the West Midlands Mayor, their local council and the Government have handled of pandemic. People in the West Midlands are largely approving of the performance of all three.

The UK Government has a net approval rating of +28, councils in the West Midlands have a net rating of +27 and the Mayor of the West Midlands has a net rating of +21 (the proportion approving of their handling of the outbreak, minus the proportion disapproving).

The public’s top priorities for the West Midlands Mayor’s next term are health care provision (45%), schools (43%) and emergency services (30%).

People’s priorities have shifted significantly during the pandemic. Schools (+15), support for businesses (+9) and colleges (+6) have all risen in importance. Meanwhile, transport (-10) and housing (-14) have both fallen in importance.

Centre for Cities’ Chief Executive Andrew Carter said: “People in the West Midlands overwhelmingly support shifting power out of Whitehall and down to the city region. Devolving more responsibility for providing affordable housing, supporting businesses and running adult education schemes are all popular with the public in the West Midlands.

At the 2019 election, the Government backed the principle of more devolution in England yet, more than a year later, we are still waiting to see what its plans are.

“As the West Midlands looks to recover from the pandemic, it is vital that the Government listens to demands for more devolution and gives the next mayor the powers and resources to build back better. People want Whitehall to do less, it’s time for it to listen.”