Colors: Blue Color

With an array of activities on offer for all guests, Lane Head is a Lake District home like no other. A fantastic & unique base to come together and enjoy outdoor education courses, activities, celebrations and much more. Perfect for corporate and independent groups, friends and families alike (stag and hen groups are more than welcome). In essence a large and versatile space in an amazing setting.

Standing in an elevated position overlooking Coniston Water, the village and the dramatic fells beyond, Lane Head, is superbly situated for those who wish to explore the delights of the UK's #1 holiday destination. Lovingly refurbished, Lane Head offers its guests simple, spacious, comfortable & practical accommodation, adequately sleeping up to 35 within eight roomy en suite bedrooms.

Historically this impressive home was once owned by William Collingwood, secretary to John Ruskin and a renowned artist in his own right. Furthermore it is believed that Arthur Ransome, a close friend of Collingwood and author of the world famous Swallows & Amazons, spent much time at Lane Head and taught Collingwood's grandchildren to sail on the lake.

We are coming to that time of the year again to dust off our toolboxes and get spring cleaning. A new report from Satsuma titled ‘Room for Improvement’ suggests that quite a few Brits will be putting their DIY skills to the test.

The survey quizzed 1,850 Brits about their knowledge of DIY and the financial implications of getting DIY wrong.

With the average DIY disaster costing £63 it raises the question of where budding DIY wannabes learn their skills, if they do at all!

Is DIY a dying trait?

With 28% of the UK admitting to not owning a toolbox, it would appear that the modern home would rather pay a professional than get their hands dirty. However, when asked where respondents learnt their DIY knowledge, a surprising 76% said YouTube or Google.

25% of the UK admit to guessing when it comes to DIY tasks with less than half (42%) saying it was a knowledge passed on from their family.

DIY disaster’s costs

With the above knowledge on DIY, it’s no wonder that it can sometimes go wrong.

Brits have been found to have an average of 4 DIY failures per year at an average cost of £63 per task. This means that the average house in the UK can expect to spend £239 per year in fixing their home improvement attempts!

Regions that know how to DIY

When asked if respondents knew how to do the following DIY tasks, it was clear that not all regions of the UK were as DIY savvy!

% of population who know how to fix the following:

Column1 East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Change a lightbulb 89.36% 81.94% 75.67% 88.64% 80.17% 97.44% 89.36% 89.88% 83.97% 89.80% 74.41% 86.63%
Fix a leaking tap 30.85% 47.22% 47.33% 36.36% 43.53% 20.51% 38.30% 36.90% 32.06% 37.76% 44.55% 36.14%
Replace wall tiles 35.11% 44.44% 48.13% 47.73% 43.97% 41.03% 38.30% 40.48% 44.27% 40.82% 46.92% 37.62%
Change a fuse 64.89% 63.89% 57.75% 76.14% 62.07% 61.54% 70.21% 70.83% 67.18% 69.39% 59.72% 69.80%
Painting/ hanging wallpaper 72.34% 68.06% 60.16% 77.27% 66.81% 61.54% 71.63% 72.62% 68.70% 80.61% 61.14% 69.80%
Bleeding radiators 58.51% 61.11% 43.32% 64.77% 56.47% 71.79% 61.70% 57.14% 54.96% 67.35% 44.08% 61.39%
Home insulation 19.15% 27.78% 22.46% 22.73% 24.14% 28.21% 16.31% 18.45% 25.95% 19.39% 21.80% 26.24%
Unblocking a drain 53.19% 58.33% 50% 62.50% 56.90% 56.41% 58.16% 63.10% 57.25% 65.31% 41.23% 62.38%
None of the above 2.13% 1.39% 2.67% 2.27% 7.76% 2.56% 2.84% 4.17% 3.82% 2.04% 2.84% 3.47%

Full data and information can be seen here

A Kings Heath volunteer has been praised for more than a decade of dedication to a children’s charity.

Yvonne Yates was a store associate at the Barnardo’s store in Kings Heath for ten years, until her retirement in 2007.

But she enjoyed her work so much that she returned as a volunteer for a further ten years.

Now she is sharing her story in advance of national Volunteers’ Week which runs from June 1-7, after being presented with a certificate of appreciation, a badge, a celebratory cake and flowers on Tuesday afternoon.

Barnardo’s manager Julie Collins said: “Yvonne is very committed to the charity and to the Kings Heath team of staff and volunteers.

“It’s so heartwarming that she believes so passionately in our work that she continues to support us even after retiring from the store.

“She’s always smiling and always happy, and such a help to the rest of us.”

Yvonne, aged 70, was a teacher for 29 years, working at Billesley and Alston primary schools.

She said: “After retirement I wanted to volunteer to help others. I went into Kings Heath and walked up and down the street looking at the charity shops.

“I was really impressed by the amazing window display at Barnardo’s, and I liked the idea of continuing to support children, so I went inside and applied to join.”

Yvonne was soon promoted to the role of sales assistant and spent the next years in a paid role with the charity.

When she retired from Barnardo’s she wanted to return to volunteering again, and decide to stay at the Kings Heath store.

She said: “I wouldn’t have dreamed of going anywhere else. Obviously I don’t get paid anymore but I enjoy not having the responsibility of helping to manage the shop.

“There’s a lovely atmosphere, we’ve got lots of really nice customers, and we all get along so very well.

“Every day is different. You never know what you’re going to find among the donations – I remember one of the volunteers opened a cardboard box and found a glass eye staring back at her!

“It’s great fun, and it’s good to know that we’re all working together to raise money for such a worthy cause.”

The Barnardo’s store is open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5pm and on Sunday from 10am-4pm.

The team always welcome donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, games, homeware and accessories, as well as offers of help from potential volunteers.

Birmingham Hippodrome’s annual free festival Summer in Southside returns on Sat 17 & Sun 18 June with country capers, animal encounters and free farmyard fun presented by local, national and international artists.

Escape to the countryside on the streets of Southside this June in a two-day celebration of the great outdoors, where wildlife roams, adventures are born and live music fills the air.

Watch in wonder as Hippodrome Square is transformed into a temporary Village Green complete with live Sheep Racing, Mini Farm, live performances and a host of colourful country characters. Say "ooh arr" to Farmer Giles on his travels through Southside, enjoy storytelling, music and song in the company of The Fabularium’s Reynard The Fox, the woodlands’ most infamous scoundrel – and move your hips to the beat of Bhanghra with Midlands based dance troupe; The Lions of Punjab.

Visitors to The Arcadian can look forward to a live performance from Folk Dance Remixed, a colourful and quirky collision of maypole, clog dancing, breakin’ and street dance. Bringing a taste of the South Asian subcontinent to Southside are Jaivant Patel Dance with a high-energy dance piece incorporating Gujurati and Raas Garba folk, performed to a soundtrack of contemporary Bollywood dance. Joining them are the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band with their vibrant celebration of the music and dance of rural Rajasthan and Secret City Arts Country Fayre Picnic – an interactive storytelling adventure inspired by Olde English folk takes with a contemporary twist.

Festival-goers are invited to carry on celebrating into the night-time with live music from Birmingham mega-folk band The Destroyers who will be bringing their trademark energy and madcap performance style to The Arcadian on Saturday evening.

Russian performance-artists Cardboardia will be taking over Ladywell Walk with their amazing cardboard farmyard display complete with animals, fences and tools and the opportunity to create your own cardboard sculptures inspired by your favourite country-scape.

Returning to Summer in Southside for the second year running, Highly Sprung are back with their daring and imaginative live staging of Roots, telling the story of two refugees living in the branches of a towering tree. They will be joined by Imagineer Productions who present Operation Migration, a beautiful and heart-warming tale of one man’s extraordinary endeavour to teach a gaggle of geese to fly, told through a combination of puppetry, dance and inventive design.

On Sun 18 June, visitors can take a stroll through the country without leaving the Hippodrome Foyer with free activities, arts and crafts, miniature petting farm and a costume exhibition from Birmingham Royal Ballet. VR experts from Freemotely and South and City College will also be on hand to guide visitors through the landscapes of virtual reality.

This year’s festival will also feature a special performance from resident partners Birmingham Royal Ballet who present 'The Chicken Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardee, the sunniest of summer ballets. They will be joined by The Black Eagles from Tanzania who present their high-impact acrobatic show set to a lively soundtrack of African music and Rogue Play with Taking Flight, an enchanting aerial display set to a soundscape of word and music.

Alongside a jam-packed programme of live events, festival-goers can also take advantage of a Vintage Fairground complete with swing-boat rides, coconut shy and hook-a-duck, animal-themed Face-painting  and a mobile brasserie serving freshly made crepes, galettes, gourmet burgers, ice creams and barista coffee.

Seeing Summer in Southside off in signature style on the Sunday, visitors to the Showground can look forward to an action-packed Grand Finale featuring the most hotly-anticipated event in the countryside calendar, the Southside Sheep Race!

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive Birmingham Hippodrome said: “We’re very proud to be a part of Southside district and relish bringing the theatre’s surrounding streets to life with a whole two days of free activities and family-friendly fun. This year, we’ll be getting to grips with all things countryside, from welly-wanging, to sheep racing, cardboard tractors to giant maypoles. As ever, we’ll be welcoming artists from across the globe to join in the festivities, giving people from all areas of Birmingham the chance to experience the fun of the great outdoors right here in the heart of our wonderful city.”

As the campaign season comes toward its conclusion with the election on 8th June, members of Parliament are stepping up their game and campaigning across the country to build support for themselves and their fellow party MPs. One such event took place at the Premier Training College in Erdington today (31st May, 2017) with dozens of committed members of the local community turning up to listen to Erdington MP Jack Dromey and Tottenham MP David Lammy speak.

The crowd hung onto the two MPs every word, as they spoke passionately about why Labour was the party to vote for in the upcoming general election. Both MPs stated time and time again that it was Labour who had introduced the NHS, that it was Labour who had worked hard when in government to ensure that there was greater social cohesion and inclusiveness and that it was Labour who had worked hard to ensure that those from less well-off backgrounds had access to ladders to future success. Both MPs admitted that Labour had made mistakes, but that the party was willing to face up those mistakes and learn from them, and avoid repeating them, something they were both convinced the Conservatives never would.

Shortly after the two MPs had finished speaking, the floor was opened for questions. A businessman named Anthony asked what Labour would do to ensure proper support for the local community in Erdington and why Labour was worthy of his and others vote. Mr Dromey responded that he had done much to help improve the local community in Erdington and had campaigned tirelessly to help members of his constituency, he promised more of the same if elected. Mr Lammy stated that Labour was the only party that sought to represent everyone, and to truly protect the interests of the many, not the few.

Another businessman asked what Mr Dromey would do about the increased parking charges he was having to pay for his business. Mr Dromey gave a clear and concise answer that he would seek to work with the council if re-elected to ensure that every voice was heard and a proper and well thought out solution could be heard.

The event was rounded up with a lady named Hannah asking a pressing question about immigration and tuition fees. Both Mr Dromey and Mr Lammy were insistent that if Labour won the election they would seek to abolish tuition fees and to ensure that immigration was managed in a fair and reasonable manner.

Afterwards, Mr Lammy gave a final speech about why Labour could do a lot of good for the people of Erdington and the people of the United Kingdom, pointing to their record as the bringers of social inclusion and opportunity, and being the proponents for a fair and just society. The event ended with applause from the audience and a real sense that come 8th June, Erdington might well vote Labour.


Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) has made three new appointments to its board – including a new vice president.

Saqib Bhatti, who has served as president of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce for the last four years, is to become the vice president of Birmingham Chamber.

He will be joined on the board by Steve Allen, head of the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve, and Liz McKenzie of financial services firm Wesleyan.

Saqib is a director at Younis Bhatti & Co Chartered Accountants. Among other interests, he is also a director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) with responsibilities for promoting diversity and business support, and joint Secretary General of Muslims for Britain, a non-partisan campaign group set up to engage British Muslims in national debates.

He has also worked with a number of charities in Pakistan and locally, where he is a trustee of the Lord Mayor’s Charity in Birmingham.

Saqib said: “It is a great honour to be the new vice president for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. I follow in the footsteps of many great people and I look forward to working with the board.

“This is a really exciting time for the region and the Chamber is essential to the future development and success of the region. I look forward to serving our members and helping to guide that journey.”

Steve is former winner of the Birmingham Law Society’s ‘International Solicitor of the Year’ award and is recognised in both the Chambers UK and Legal 500 UK as a ‘Leading Lawyer’ specialising in commercial litigation.

He is also the chairman of the New York-headquartered British American Business Council, which has 22 chapters in the UK, USA and Canada.

Steve said: “I’m delighted to have joined the Chamber board. From working with the city-region's burgeoning SME community to large corporates, the Chamber’s mission to connect, support and grow all local businesses has never been more pertinent.

“I particularly look forward to working with its diverse mix of members to explore and develop new markets and opportunities for their businesses.”

Liz is the chief operating officer of financial services firm Wesleyan in Birmingham.

She joined Wesleyan in October 2010 as head of corporate planning.  Prior to this she spent 19 years at Toyota in a variety of roles in production control and manufacturing.

In 2015 Liz was appointed chief operating officer with responsibility for Wesleyan Financial Services, General Insurance, Practice Plan, Life & Pensions, the Transformation and operational excellence functions and IT.

She is also chair of DPAS, which was acquired by Wesleyan in 2015. In June 2016, Liz won the IoD West Midlands Director of the Year Award for a Large Business.

She said: “The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has a long history of putting the needs of local businesses first and giving its members a collective voice both locally and further afield.

“I am delighted to have been appointed to the board and look forward to helping the Chamber deliver its ambitious plans on behalf of members and patrons alike.”

The University of Wolverhampton’s International Academy has announced its Summer Programmes for July and August.

The International Academy Summer School  is based in Priorslee Hall at the Telford Innovation Campus and offers accommodation, facilities and services for the University’s international students.

The Summer Programmes focus on developing international students’ spoken fluency and confidence through practical activities and project work. Students also take part in a comprehensive social programme which includes visits to places of cultural and historical interest around the UK.

A Science and Engineering Careers Summer Camp will take place from 1st July until 15th July and provide an opportunity for international students from all regions to experience Science and Engineering enhancement at the University of Wolverhampton (UK).  Students will be taking part in engineering workshops and activities in Environmental, Mechanical and Chemical engineering as well as studying English language with the International Academy.

From 23rd July until 6th August 2017, ‘The Wolverhampton Experience’ offers students from the UoW partner institutions the chance to develop their communication skills and experience English culture as well as taking part in visits to London and places of local historical interest.  Students also have the opportunity to develop business communication skills and take part in interactive workshops.

Nikhil Goyal Agrawal from Nepal, said:  “The Wolverhampton Summer School last year was a great time for me, it was learning with fun. I attended different types of classes which enhanced my skills and personality.  I enjoyed the sports activities with the other international students and also the trips to London and Cambridge as well as the visits to all the different places in the UK.

“London was a beautiful city with lots of attractions.  The staff at the International Academy are amazing and they made me feel very comfortable.  I really enjoyed my stay and I want to come back again soon.”

Struggling to find the perfect gift this Father's Day? Why not set your dad and his mates the challenge of stepping up to one of HF Holidays' new for 2017 Outdoor Escapes: and make the outdoors your playground. We all know that dads can be really hard to buy for, so this Father's Day, the leading walking and outdoor activity holiday provider is encouraging you to give your dads an experience they'll never forget.

Outdoor Escapes are HF Holidays new UK guided walking holidays. With fantastic walking, through outstandingly beautiful countryside, exclusive accommodation, good food and the company of a small group of like-minded travelling companions. It's a great opportunity for dads to catch up with their friends, get outdoors and show everyone what they are really made of; all whilst taking in some of the UK's most breath-taking walks.

Whether it's a challenging scramble in the Lake District, scaling the high peaks of Snowdonia or discovering hidden gems in the Yorkshire Dales, HF Holidays offers the chance to push the limits and distinguish the men from the boys! With both guided and self-guided walking holidays at destinations across the UK and Europe, there is plenty to choose from. The holiday will, of course, not just be about the challenging hill walks, as there will always be a bar at the end of the day where your dad can enjoy a well-earned cold beer!

Since March of this year, Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP has been leading calls for a second independence referendum, either to be held in mid or late 2018, or the beginning of 2019. This would coincide with the conclusion of Brexit talks, and has been seen by many as Sturgeon’s attempt to bring her agenda to the forefront of political discussion and to ensure her mandate is used to full effect. However, in the SNP manifesto, launched in Perth, Scotland today, it appears that Sturgeon and the SNP are now softening their stance, a little.

The manifesto states: “At the end of the Brexit process, when the final terms of the deal are known, it is right that Scotland should have a choice about our future.” With such phrasing, it is implied that a referendum would likely only be held in late 2019, after talks over Brexit are believed to have finished, or if one were to follow Theresa May’s thinking, several years after this date.

Following her previous adherence to a referendum being held during Brexit talks, this change in opinion has led many to wondering what exactly has brought the change on. Some, are beginning to think the change in stance must have something to do with the declining support for the SNP. Recent polling figures have put support for the SNP at 41%, down from 55% in April, 2015. Support for independence currently stands below 45%, a further indication that perhaps independence is not at the forefront of many Scottish voters’ minds, and therefore, the SNP has had to change pace to stay relevant.

Consequently, during the launch of the SNP manifesto, Nicola Sturgeon stressed repeatedly that the SNP were the only party who could seriously stand up to the Tories, on welfare and NHS funding cuts. Sturgeon also said that the SNP would support a 50p top rate tax, but only if it were applied across the whole of the UK, they would also support protection of the triple lock on pensions.

However, though Sturgeon shifted focus to other issues during the manifesto launch, she concluded proceedings by stating that the elections to Holyrood last year had given the SNP a clear mandate to call for and hold a second independence referendum. Evidently, though the focus is elsewhere, independence is still a clear talking point, and will remain so for the SNP and for Scotland.

Academics and industry partners in Birmingham are developing a new device that will ensure newborn babies could survive in the event of a crash in an ambulance at up to 40 miles per hour.

Product design experts at Birmingham City University have teamed up with Evac+Chair International – makers of the world's most popular stairway evacuation chair – to develop the first-ever stretcher interface device (SID) for neonates.

The universal device for neonatal equipment will be securely attached to European Ambulance Loading Stretchers (EALS) and those in other markets worldwide, complementing the existing range of goods and services offered by Evac+Chair International.

With the newborn contained within an incubator, the partners are devising a quick attach/release mechanism that will see the device disengage from oxygen, power and other survival supplies in the event of a road traffic incident, to be then transferred quickly to another ambulance vehicle.

Through Birmingham-based Evac+Chair International’s ParAid brand, the company already produces an award-winning ambulance child restraint (ACR) – a flexible and fully adjustable harnessing system for the safe and effective transport of infants and children. What makes SID unique to previous designs is that it will isolate the baby from sudden accelerations and decelerations to reduce the stress of road transport.

To test the effectiveness of the design, SID will be impact tested at 40 miles per hour in a similar manner to how the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) verifies the fit and protection offered by child restraints in the event of a front or side crash.

More than 78,000 lives have been saved since Euro NCAP’s crash safety tests were launched in 1997, and the Birmingham team hope their SID and related products will achieve a safety rating similar to those given on child restraint systems.

The project has been made possible due to a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) which has been agreed between Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, part of Birmingham City University, and Evac+Chair International. The terms of the programme will see a recent graduate from the University’s Product and Furniture Design course employed to work on the two-year project. Research findings from the collaboration will also be fed in to the University’s curriculum, ensuring that its teaching is informed by industry practice and innovation.

Dr Panch Suntharalingam from Birmingham City University is the lead academic on the partnership programme. He said:

“The major challenge in this project will be the development of a stretcher interface device with impact-resistant fixing points and ports for oxygen, power and other survival supplies situated around what encapsulates the newborn.

“In order for the product to be desirable, it needs to be compatible with any European ambulance trolley, so this adds an additional complication, as the variation in emergency vehicles and their components differs across the continent.

“However, our work is vital in guaranteeing the safety of newborn patients in ambulances and giving their families piece of mind – something that will be at the forefront of all our minds throughout the project.”

There is a lack of research in recent ambulance accidents in Europe but in the USA, between 1992 and 2011, there was an average of 1,500 crashes involving an ambulance that resulted in an injury, with 2,600 incapacitated as a result. 29 per cent of the deaths caused in these incidents were ambulance passengers

Ges Wallace, Managing Director, Evac+Chair International, said: “Working with Birmingham City University will enable us to develop a world-class innovative safety conscious products to complement our existing range of specialist patient and casualty handling equipment.”

There are approximately 16,000 transfers of premature and sick babies each year in Britain, according to the UK Neonatal Transport Group. Many of these transfers are needed so that babies can be cared for in the correct type of neonatal unit.

44 per cent of neonatal transfers in 2014/15 were of babies who were moved to a more specialist unit. For example, this happens when a baby needs complex, long term intensive care because they are very premature or sick. Another 44 per cent of transfers were of babies moved to a less specialist unit when their condition improved.

World-leading Swedish engineering group Atlas Copco has started the build of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at i54 South Staffordshire.

It is the third major business in recent months to begin construction at the advanced manufacturing hub.

The development will be the new headquarters of Tentec Ltd which is one of the leading providers of bolt tensioning solutions globally.

The bespoke facility will provide 46,000 sq ft (4,289 sq m) of high quality production and office space for 80 employees and Tentec expects this number to grow as the operation expands.

Midlands property company Mucklow Group Plc is developing the property on behalf of Atlas Copco and Tentec.

Tentec Ltd, part of the Atlas Copco group, was formed over 28 years ago and the company designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of class leading hydraulic bolt tensioning tools from their existing site in West Bromwich.

The tools it makes are renowned for their reliability and accuracy and they are used both on land and in deep sea applications.

The Tentec development follows hot on the heels of Eurofins, the food testing company, beginning a £1.5 million major expansion last month. More than 10,000 sq ft of laboratories will be added to its UK headquarters. The Belgian-owned company moved its operations onto i54 five years ago.

ERA, the leading British security hardware and electronics business, are also four months into the construction of a state-of-the-art product development, manufacturing and distribution facility at its new i54 South Staffordshire headquarters. The new purpose built 135,000 sq ft facility will include design, prototyping, testing, manufacturing, assembly, warehousing and a customer training centre.

The three councils behind the success of i54 - City of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire County and South Staffordshire - are delighted with progress on the site, which is also home to Jaguar Land Rover, MOOG, and ISP.

Tim Johnson, City of Wolverhampton Strategic Director for Place, speaking on behalf of the i54 South Staffordshire Partnership, said: “Our joint investment in i54 has already secured hundreds of millions of pounds of further investment and brought thousands of jobs to the area. Tentec’s expansion plans come on the back of significant investment by ERA and Eurofins. Most importantly, these are high-end businesses providing skilled local jobs and research and training facilities. All this furthers i54s reputation as a leading regional hub for advanced manufacturing and engineering.”

Tentec Director and General Manager, David Jones, said: “The new Atlas Copco facility will further enhance our UK footprint with a global centre of excellence to support our worldwide client base within the Energy segment business area. It will also provide the platform to further grow the business where our standard products are used extensively in the oil and gas, power generation industries. The company also has the ability to design and manufacture hydraulic tooling for special bespoke applications in most industries where controlled bolt tightening is required. Operations within the facility will encompass R and D development, training and demonstration areas, engineering design, sales and logistics support, extensive manufacturing and assembly processes thus enabling us to provide world class Atlas Copco and Tentec branded products based on sustainable productivity.”

Development Director at Mucklow, Mark Vernon, said: "It has been great to work with the Tentec team to ensure this state-of-the-art production unit meets its exact requirements.  This is the first of up to four manufacturing facilities which we can accommodate on this high-profile site and we are able to offer fast-track delivery to occupiers."

The full impact of congestion on drivers’ commuting times has been revealed for the first time in an investigation by insurance specialist Admiral.

Drivers are losing an average of 10 days a year sitting in their cars during rush hour with journey times tripling on some routes.

Admiral compared the travel time of various routes into the centres of 13 major cities for a 9am arrival on a Monday, one of the busiest times to be driving, with 9am on a Sunday, when the roads are at their quietest. A central landmark in each city was given as the destination.

The figures reveal the full picture of congestion across the country, uncovering the shocking amount of hours drivers lose as they make their way to work. And this can mean more than just inconvenience – more bumps occur during rush hour than at any other time of day.

Unsurprisingly, London is the worst city for congestion, with commuters spending three times as much time in the car during rush hour, compared with the quieter day. That adds up to an average of 53 minutes more in the car for just one journey, which is a staggering 398 hours each year, or 17 days.

Manchester is the second most congested city in the UK – where drivers will spend an average of 45 extra minutes per journey in rush hour, compared to the same journey outside of peak times. This adds up to 335 hours, the equivalent of nearly 14 days every year.

Bristol comes third in the list, followed by Glasgow and Birmingham. Leeds is the city where congestion affects drivers the least – adding an average of 28 minutes on a journey but still doubling the time it takes for drivers to get to their destination.

Sandwell libraries teamed up with Cornerstone Nursery in Rowley Regis to organise a pyjama party for parents and pre-school age children.
Parents and children came along to the nursery with many dressed in pyjamas to enjoy some bed-time themed story books read to them by Sam Lavender who works for Sandwell Libraries.
Children and parents also sang songs accompanied by talented Silvia Sermon, Cornerstone Nursery Deputy Manager, on her guitar.
Silvia is thrilled the nursery has such great links with Sandwell Libraries. She said: "We know how important it is to get children and parents to read together and many of our families visit the library regularly.
"We are very fortunate to have support from staff at our local library in Blackheath and the children and parents very much enjoyed our pyjama party."
The pre-school, based at The Flame Community Church in Cardale Street, has organised various activities designed to improve children's literacy skills and get them ready to start school.
They also took part in a project called "Raising Early Achievement in Literacy (REAL)". The nursery organised home visits and sessions at Cornerstone nursery designed to encourage parents and carers to read more with their children, learn new rhymes together and do more writing and drawing.

The new Birmingham Conservatoire has been announced as the leading venue for the prestigious BBC Young Musician competition in 2018, as the contest prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Following the regional auditions later this year, Birmingham Conservatoire will host the Category Finals between Friday 16 and Tuesday 20 March 2018, alongside the Semi Final on Friday 23 March. All performances in Birmingham will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four.

BBC Young Musician is a part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to supporting and providing a platform for new and emerging talent. Musicians are judged in five categories ahead of the Semi Final; strings, keyboard, woodwind, percussion and brass.

Birmingham Conservatoire’s new £57 million home, opening in the Eastside region of the city in September this year, will also welcome the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award Final in 2018.

Launched three years ago, the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award runs alongside the established classical music format and aims to showcase another group of exceptional young musicians to audiences across the UK. Current Birmingham Conservatoire student Elliott Sansom reached the finals in 2016.

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting the Category Finals, Semi Final and the Jazz Final of BBC Young Musician 2018 in our state-of-the-art new building!

“Birmingham Conservatoire will be the first fully-digital music college and it is a tribute to our wonderful new facilities that the BBC has chosen us to host its iconic competition which has launched the careers of so many of the UK’s top soloists.”

Part of Birmingham City University, the new Birmingham Conservatoire will be a unique contemporary building, incorporating five public performance spaces including a new 500 seat concert hall for orchestral training and performance, private rehearsal and practice rooms, and teaching spaces for musicians from a variety of disciplines.

Furthermore, as the first purpose built conservatoire in the UK since 1987, it will be the only one of its kind in the country designed for the demands of the digital age. The venue will also be home to a purpose-designed jazz club – Birmingham’s only permanent jazz venue. Earlier this year, Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Department launched its Ellington Orchestra, who will be a regular fixture in the new club.


Daredevil Debbie is flying high after realising a lifelong ambition while also raising cash for her chosen charity.

Debbie Pallett, 36, took to the skies in a sponsored wing walk raising hundreds of pounds for John Taylor Hospice.

First aid trainer Debbie wanted to show her support for John Taylor after they provided care for her stepmum, Deb Pallett, in 2016.

“The hospice and all of the staff there were fantastic in looking after Deb and also made us feel welcome when we visited,” said Birmingham-born Debbie.

“Deb and my dad got together when I was about seven years old and from then she became like another mum, big sister and best friend all rolled into one. She was a real family person, would do anything for anyone and had a heart of gold.

“After losing Deb to cancer last year I decided that life was too short to put off fulfilling your dreams. I’d always wanted to do a wing walk and there’s no better reason to do it than in memory of my amazing stepmum.”

To experience the thrill of a wing walk, Debbie travelled over 100 miles from her home in Bournemouth to RFC Rendcomb Airfield in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Strapped onto the top of the aircraft, adventurous Debbie was in the air for 12 minutes as the pilot performed a series of dives and steep climbs.

“I thoroughly enjoyed doing the wing walk, it was an amazing experience and I was very lucky with the weather being so beautiful,” said Debbie.

“I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me. Thanks to all of my friends and family who always support me in my crazy adventures but particularly my mum and boyfriend Andy who came to support me on the day too.”

John Taylor’s Head of Fundraising Katie Mitchell said: “We’re very proud of Debbie for achieving something that she’d always dreamed of achieving. She has taken on an incredibly ambitious challenge to raise money for us - even covering the costs of the wing walk herself - ensuring all donations go directly to the hospice and to local families who need our care and support.”

Since its launch back in August last year, The Platinum Group Service Sector within the Black Country Chamber of Commerce has gone from strength to strength. There are now 12 members of The Group all committed to working together to learn and develop, through sharing best practice and deeper business relationships.

The latest companies to join The Group are Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital, Coinadrink and why.

Rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission, Nuffield Health hospital has been named as a top performer in the NHS Partners Network Report of independent sector providers caring for NHS patients. The private hospital, based in Tettenhall, is one of a group of 31 hospitals nationwide, who collectively are the largest not-for-profit organisation in the UK.  This means that any surplus funds are invested back into the hospital for the benefit of patients.

Commenting on their decision to join The Platinum Group, Karen Pattison, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Wolverhampton, said: “Leadership and development are key to running a top private healthcare service. The opportunities that The Platinum Group provides for leaders across our business to expand their knowledge and learn from others outside of our industry is unrivalled in the region.”

Coinadrink is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of vending machines to businesses, offering a comprehensive vending service, including hire, installation and maintenance.  A forward-thinking company who are committed to the impact that they have not just on the exemplary service that they offer to their customers, but also in the environmental and community impact that they have.  To this end they have several CSR initiatives in place, supporting good causes in both the UK and around the world.

Roger Williams, Managing Director of Coinadrink said: “We are very excited at taking the step to upgrade to The Platinum Group Service Sector.  We will now enjoy many additional benefits such as meeting with other members to share ideas and developments. We see the ability to reach out to other CEO’s and MD’s for support and guidance and to share best practice, as a powerful tool in our continued development.”

whg are one of the West Midlands' leading and most successful providers of high quality homes. Owning and managing around 20,000 properties across Walsall and the wider West Midlands, they provide affordable, good quality homes and community-based services.  Since they were formed in 2003, they have invested over £400 million in their portfolio of homes and developed a range of services that go beyond the traditional role of a landlord.

Gary Fulford, CEO of whg, said: “At whg we believe that everyone deserves the chance to lead a happy and fulfilled life.  We are privileged to be able to provide one of the fundamentals to that – a home.  But we know that bricks and mortar alone cannot automatically create the conditions to help people enjoy better lives.  Maintaining a one-to-one relationship with each of our customers and constantly seeking the very best for them, is what differentiates us. People are at the heart of our business, which is why we are proud of our reputation for being ‘much more than a landlord’.

Joining The Platinum Group Service Sector and being able to interact with like-minded businesses in an open and confidential setting, to learn from their experiences and work together on ways to improve the service we provide, is an exciting prospect for us and I look forward to the opportunities it will bring.”

Commenting on The Group’s expansion, Gail Arnold, Head of Premium Membership at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are pleased to welcome our latest members to The Platinum Group Service Sector.  Since its launch we have been delighted by the reaction that we have received and by the diverse range of businesses that it has attracted.  This diversity is an important part of the success of The Group, where the non-competitive nature of the members ensures an openness and confidentiality, that provide excellent outcomes for developing leaders and their businesses.”