Colors: Blue Color

The winners of a competition for youngsters to design the Mayor of Wolverhampton's official Christmas card have been announced. Four-year-old Eliza Hallam, a pupil at St Anthony's RC School, was declared the winner with her colourful, hand-printed Father Christmas stating "I'm going to my favourite place next... Wolverhampton". She won a pack of 20 cards featuring her own design, along with a family ticket for a ride on the Severn Valley Railway.

As December finally arrives, postbags up and down the country will be straining under the weight of millions of Christmas cards and parcels. With that in mind, sight loss charity RNIB is calling on the nation to save their used stamps to help raise vital funds. The charity wants everyone to help it deliver first class support services by donating their used stamps to support the two million people in the UK living with sight loss, including more than 166,000 people in the West Midlands.

A new fund to support Restorative Justice projects in the West Midlands is being launched by the police and crime commissioner. Grants totalling £375,000 will be available to organisations who work with victims, enabling them, if they want to face their offender, to explain how the crime has affected them. Restorative Justice (RJ) also gives ex-offenders the opportunity to make amends for their crimes and repair the harm they have done – by apologising, returning stolen money, or undertaking community service.

Offenders doing Community Payback put in more than 1,200 hours for this year's Safer 6 campaign, clearing more than 33 tonnes of waste across Sandwell's six towns. The offenders, who are supervised by Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company, cleared 33.6 tonnes of waste – including collecting rubbish and tidying up overgrown bushes and paths – from 14 sites over 1,242 hours.

HRH The Princess Royal attended a special event hosted by national deafblind charity, Sense. The event, held at Birmingham’s Opus Restaurant  marked the charity’s 60th anniversary and announced the upcoming construction of a new community centre in Selly Oak that will provide specialist care to people with sensory impairments, and also serve the wider community.

New research from THINK! shows that while half the population (51%) would not consider consuming any alcoholic drinks before driving, a shocking one in ten people would consider having two or more drinks before they get behind the wheel.  This increases to one in five among men aged 18-34 (19%). The government has launched a new campaign to tackle drink driving, targeting those who do not recognise that even a small number of drinks before driving can be deadly. 

Organisations in Wolverhampton are organising ‘orange events’ in support of the United Nations’ Orange the World:  End Violence Against Women and Girls campaign. The 16 days of action started on Wednesday 25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – continues until Thursday 10 December, 2016, which is Human Rights Day.

Anyone who uses or has used one of Birmingham’s housing advice centres is invited to have their say on the future homeless and housing advice service. Cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management & Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “We currently have four housing advice centres across the city, however some people have experienced delays in receiving the support that they need and we want to make sure that everyone receives a consistent service.

The following is a statement from Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, on the latest developments in the plan to welcome 50 Syrian refugees to the city… “I am pleased to announce that following a robust procurement process we have appointed Refugee Action to provide support services for the 50 refugees we will be welcoming to Birmingham through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme.

Paloma Blanca conveys a message of hope and love with her new novel, which follows a family’s struggles while the wheel of “Karma” goes on. It shows how people are affected by loss, by sudden change and the things they must do as they themselves experience transitions, all while having only each other as anchors for turbulent times.

Somehow no matter how much we may try to make December a happy month, there are always some people who tend to take a negative view on life. In a business situation, such as tourism, negativity can be deadly. It is essential that not only front-line personnel maintain an upbeat view of the world, but also those who work behind the scenes. The basic rule is that negativity not only breeds further negativity but also tends to be self-serving in that negative and pessimistic people tend to create self-fulfilling prophecies.

A bus that offers a safe haven for vulnerable town centre visitors is rolling through Haringey once again. Following success last year, the SOS Bus is returning to the borough’s streets for a series of weekends until the New Year. The bus, which is funded by Haringey Council and the Metropolitan Police and provided by Colchester-based charity Open Road , is manned by volunteers from HAGA (Haringey Advisory Group on Alcohol) and BUBIC (Bringing Unity Back into the Community).

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.