Colors: Blue Color

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has applauded the efforts of Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water for substantially reducing the number of complaints they received from customers. The report by the consumer watchdog reveals that the two Midlands-based water suppliers saw among the largest falls in written complaints from customers in 2015/16.

Vulnerable small island states and developing countries stand to gain access to billions of dollars of climate finance with the aid of a new Commonwealth initiative. The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, hosted by the Government of Mauritius, was officially opened today by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth at a signing ceremony in New York. It will help governments dealing with the ravaging effects of climate change to draw down funding from a global fund target of $100 billion a year by 2020. 

Independent charity Crimestoppers is today offering rewards of up to £6,000 for information on the whereabouts of three group members wanted in connection with burglary offences across the country. James Patrick Connors, 22, James Connors, 40, and John Connors, 25, are accused of being part of a national Organised Crime Group responsible for high value burglary offences and distraction burglaries throughout England and Wales targeting the elderly and the vulnerable.

In the last four years the number of children aged 10 and under needing one or more teeth removed has risen by 9.8%.  The attention surrounding the shocking rise in this figure has caused many parents to reassess their children’s ‘healthy’ diet and stressed the importance of getting them in to a good oral health routine from an early age, to help prevent decay. 

An improvement scheme in Bearwood has brought big benefits to local residents with a major upgrade of public space and pathways and a much-improved bus station to create an impressive gateway into Sandwell. Sandwell Council has undertaken a major upgrade of the area – and along with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) improved the bus station – to make it an attractive and eye-catching area on the boundary with Birmingham.

MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet retailer, has carried out research to find out what pets love listening to when their owners are out and about. This comes as 58% of people said they always leave music on in the house and 28% said they sometimes do, depending on how long they’re out for. A fewer number decide to leave the TV on instead.

Historians are raising a glass to Sandwell First World War heroes with a unique project to honour their bravery on commemorative beer mats. As part of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, Sandwell libraries, archives and museums services are shinning a spotlight on local heroes. Three heroes from each town in Sandwell have been nominated by local history groups and now the public is being asked to pick one who they want to see commemorated in November on the mats.

Arts groups and organisations wishing to engage with residents in Aston and Newtown can apply for grants from a £500,000 funding pot, it was announced. Following the closure of The Drum, in Aston, earlier this year, Birmingham City Council has worked with Arts Council England and local stakeholders, to identify priorities for cultural development in both areas and agree match funding.

Birmingham’s new Zero Hero campaign to encourage waste reduction with a series of pop-up events across the city. Birmingham City Council is urging residents to reduce, reuse and recycle waste through a new campaign called Zero Heroes. The campaign is part of a wider council initiative called Cleaner Greener Streets, which aims to help Birmingham work towards its target of becoming a zero waste to landfill city by 2035. Last year just 26.5 per cent of household waste in Birmingham was recycled, showing there’s still a long way to go.

A new study from British Seniors Insurance Agency today reveals that just under three quarters (71%) of over 50s in Britain feel a lot younger than their actual age. The research found that over 50s on average feel 10 years younger. Despite the assumption that retiring makes you slow down, those in retirement are actually much more likely to feel youthful (72% vs 69% who are still working).

The Peninsula Hotels is expanding its family programme this summer with the announcement of an exclusive partnership with the premium Norwegian baby brand, Stokke, providing a range of furniture and baby gear for families staying in suites at its 10 hotels worldwide. Additionally, enhanced Peninsula Academy programmes for families offer unique ways to explore each destination and keep the whole family engaged on holiday.

People in the West Bromwich area are to be given the chance to pass on ideas for improvements to their housing areas in a new ‘suggestion box’ scheme launched by the council. Special suggestion boxes are going into into local libraries and community centres to encourage people to pass on ideas to their local councillors. Councillor Steve Melia, town lead member for West Bromwich, said: "The suggestion box scheme is another way that people can tell us their ideas about what improvements and amenities they would like to see on their estates.

Two dedicated volunteers are in line for a top regional award after curating their first exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Julia Foster and Dr Andrew Yarnold are part of the gallery’s Educating Team volunteers who are in line for a West Midlands Musuems Development award. Both volunteers have been nominated for the Project Award for their work on The Drawing Year currently on show in until September 25. 

Requests for help to deal with rats have significantly fallen since the introduction of wheelie bins in Birmingham, according to new figures published today. Comparing city council data for the year immediately before and after the roll-out of bins, the figures for the city (based on the areas served by the council’s four refuse collection depots) show these have fallen between 20 and 30 per cent.

Stoke-on-Trent is set to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Potteries author Arnold Bennett in 2017. Bennett's literary legacy is vast.  He was a writer of books, novels, plays and philosophical musings.  He was a journalist, a travel writer, a raconteur and wit.  He was a resident of the Savoy Hotel, in London.  He gave his name to an Omelette (still cooked and served by many of the leading chefs and top restaurants in Britain today).  He lived in France.  And Stoke-on-Trent.  And London.  And he was mourned nation-wide when he died.

Midlands businesses are being asked to ‘step out’ in support of a local charity next month and raise awareness of domestic abuse. The Haven Wolverhampton wants firms to collectively take one million steps during October to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Any activity is welcomed, so long as the steps are counted and added to the charity’s overall tally.  There is also a 6,000 step community walk in aid of The Haven on Saturday, 8 October, which starts and finishes at the Molineux Stadium, for those who prefer to join in with an organised event.