Colors: Blue Color

IT’S A case of being upfront and dropping those hints early for locals in Birmingham where Christmas presents are concerned, according to new research. 1 in 4 say the earlier loved ones drop hints, the more likely they are to fulfil them - and as 32% of residents will start their Christmas shopping after November pay day, now really is the time to start dropping hints.  

Christmas is fast approaching, and as ever looks set to be a busy and potentially stressful time. While 43% of people feel that buying presents is the main worry at Christmas, cooking Christmas dinner comes second along with family arguments! That’s not surprising, considering that nearly a third of people will be eating Christmas dinner with more than seven guests and nearly half will spend over five hours preparing and cooking the festive meal.

Residents in Birmingham are being reminded of this year’s Christmas waste collection arrangements with one month until festivities begin. As is normally the case, the council’s crews, who work on all other Bank Holidays, will not operate on Christmas Day, Boxing Day (or any Bank Holidays staged when either of those two days are at the weekend).

Haringey “will become London’s first zero-carbon borough” as it bids to lead the way in tackling climate change. The ambitious pledge was made as the fifth annual Haringey Carbon Report was presented to Full Council. Haringey remains the only borough to track and publish its record on reducing local carbon emissions.

A wonderful seasonal start to Christmas will sound out when Sandwell’s mayor hosts the 126th annual Civic Carol Concert at West Bromwich Town Hall. And there'll be plenty of mince pies to tempt the taste buds during the interval. The popular concert, compered by the BBC’s Mike Wyer, features the Langley Band, Sandwell & District Scouts Choir and well-known singer Maggie O’Hara.

The borough’s brightest sporting talent took centre stage on Wednesday at the Haringey Celebrating Sport Awards. Gongs were given out in a host of categories as the glitzy event enjoyed its ninth year at Tottenham Green Pools and Fitness. The awards – backed by the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Haringey Sports Development Trust; Tottenham Grammar School Foundation; Fusion Lifestyle and Haringey Council – recognise sporting excellence, top quality coaching, volunteering and performance through 12 categories.

Green-fingered council tenants and leaseholders spoke about the joy their gardening gives to their communities, at the annual Birmingham in Bloom awards ceremony at the Council House. Around 50 district winners and their guests attended the ceremony in the Banqueting Suite.  City-wide winners in each category received a trophy, cash prize and gardening tools from the city’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Raymond Hassall.

Housing and homelessness charity Shelter is urgently appealing for support for its helpline, after receiving over 35,000 calls from the West Midlands in the last year alone – equivalent to 96 calls from the region every single day. In the last year, the number of calls to the charity’s free helpline from the West Midlands, which is part-funded by Marks & Spencer, has increased by 5,510.

Last week, Neena Gill MEP (Labour, West Midlands) hosted the European Parliament´s first ever Diwali Event. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is observed widely by Indians across the world to celebrate light overcoming darkness. The event commenced with prayers for victims of the recent attacks in Paris, as well as victims in other atrocities across South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Statement by Bhai Sahib, Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh OBE Spiritual Leader and Chair of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (UK) regarding the recent attacks in Paris. As the horrific events of Friday 13th November in Paris unfold and we get more information about the tragic occurrence, our thoughts and prayers go out to all the loved ones of all who have lost lives and suffered.

Almost 460,000 children in the West Midlands live in families facing cuts to their tax credits, research by The Children’s Society shows. The charity is warning that the cuts, targeted at 230,000 mainly low-paid families across the region, risk pushing many more children into poverty. Last month the House of Lords voted to delay the changes and Chancellor George Osborne agreed to come back with measures to soften the impact on families.

This November, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice officially launched their Memory Tree- a beautiful piece of artwork situated in the Hospice reception. The wooden structure which is made up of 600 leaves offers a unique and special way for people to keep memories alive. Families can choose either a gold, silver or bronze leaf to inscribe with the name of their loved one; each colour has a different donation value.

Food, glorious food, is central to the Christmas experience but the opportunity for feasting and sharing festive fun and laughter can be thin on the ground for older people who live alone. This year’s Abbeyfield Society Coping at Christmas campaign is putting the spotlight firmly on food and is inviting over-55s who live alone into its 500-plus homes and houses around the UK to share free Christmas meals, cake and of course companionship, laughter and warmth.

Birmingham City Council's latest budget consultation gets underway next month when detailed proposals for 2016 onwards are published. And, even before the formal consultation begins, residents from across the city are already helping to shape the future of council services.