Colors: Blue Color

The search is on to find the West Midlands’ most inspiring surveyors - working in the land, property and construction sectors - and helping to make the region a better place to live, work and visit - following the launch of the 2017 RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year Awards.

Surveyors are essential in key areas such as housing, commercial property and our road and rail systems. The national Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year Awards launched three years ago, in a bid to raise awareness of the diverse range of young talented surveyors, trainees and apprentices working in such areas – aged 35 and under – and helping to shape and improve the communities we live in.

The nine categories to enter are: Apprentice of the Year, Asset and Facilities Management, Building Surveying, Land (Rural and Urban), Mentor of the Year, Property (Residential & Commercial), Project Management, Quantity Surveying and Valuation.

There is also an overall ‘Young Surveyor of the Year’ accolade which is awarded to the professional who has not only achieved great success in their respective role and sector, but also demonstrates an unwavering commitment to improving the industry and the wider profession.

Last year Sophie Bullock of Aston Knowles Chartered Surveyors in Royal Sutton Coldfield won the ‘Residential Young Surveyor of the Year’ title. Since setting up Aston Knowles Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents in 2014, Sophie has sold over £64million worth of Sutton Coldfield’s finest properties. Furthermore through her passion for property and continual development, she has went on to build a second firm, Marwood Surveyors offering valuation services across the Midlands.

Lynn Robinson, RICS Regional Director said: “The West Midlands has some of the very best properties – from our airport, sporting arenas, schools and award winning infrastructure - which our talented young professionals in the built environment sectors either help to deliver and, or, maintain.

“To put it simply, surveyors measure, value and protect all our physical assets across the region, which ultimately keeps our towns and cities vibrant and attractive to locals and visitors. These awards celebrate such inspirational talent, which I know the West Midlands has in abundance, so we’re looking forward to recognising and rewarding these role models.”

Amy Leader MRICS, Chair of the RICS UK Matrics Board – a networking and support group for young surveyors -  is heading up this year’s judging panel. She commented: “These awards celebrate the very best young role models in our industry who are enjoying hugely successful careers, working on some of the most exciting built projects and initiatives in their respective communities. So they provide an ideal opportunity for companies – however large or small - to showcase the achievements of their young talent and help inspire future talent into the industry.”

The UK’s leading heating and hot water manufacturer is searching for local deserving youth sports teams, to receive a surprise visit and £1,000 donation towards their club.

Worcester, Bosch Group has launched the search as part of its commitment to heating up the nation’s parents and grandparents as they endure the great British weather to watch their children play sport each week.

To kick off the campaign, ex-England footballer and ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestant, Wayne Bridge, and ex-England rugby star and ‘Dancing on Ice’ winner, Kyran Bracken, returned to their grass roots to surprise players and spectators on the sidelines.

As well as joining the young aspiring players on the pitch for a pep talk and coaching session, the sporting legends had an extra treat for parents, as they helped keep them warm on the sidelines with hot drinks, bacon sandwiches and blankets during the game.

The Which? Best Buy heating supplier is now calling for locals in Birmingham to nominate a deserving youth team for the chance to receive a special visit and £1,000 donation when the season kicks off again in September.

Sue Pennington, consumer brand manager at Worcester, Bosch Group, said: “Youth sport is such an important part of local communities, so this year we wanted to give something back – not just to the players, but to the parents and coaches who give up their time and energy every week to celebrate their children’s love of sport.

“It would be great to visit a grass roots team in Birmingham, so we can show local parents and spectators that they can rely on Worcester to keep them warm.”

Coca-Cola Pakistan is providing a grant of Rs. 19 million to the Indus Earth Trust for a project entitled Water for Women, focusing on water replenishment access and conservation and replenishment of ground water and rainwater, in Kohistan Union Council area of District Thatta. The project will especially focus on the local women, who presently are tasked with the duty of fetching water, walking several kilometres to perform this arduous task, even in the hot summer months.

Catalysing IWRM (Integrated Water Resource Management) through a combination of indigenous knowledge and modern interventions of communication tools, the project will cover about 600 households in some 40 villages. Water harvesting will be done through 10 lined water reservoirs with a combined capacity of approximately 100,000 gallons. Some existing reservoirs will be restored as they have collapsed and new ones will be located in line with rain water run off channels. Rehabilitation of 20 dug wells will be done through brick-lining, capping and installation of hand-pumps. The water extracted will be collected in covered tanks and then and distributed through channels for household use, kitchen gardening, and for troughs for the livestock.

Other key components of the project include construction of check dams to capture water from hill streams, to irrigate over 1000 acres, setting up of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), trainings to build the capacity of women local leaders, awareness generation of awareness of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), etc. The project implementation period will be one year.

“Water replenishment remains a priority goal of Coca-Cola’s CSR strategy throughout the world, and our focus is especially on marginalized communities,” stated Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager Coca-Cola Pakistan and Afghanistan. ”This is a part of the pledge which The Coca-Cola Company made in 2007, to give back to the environment all the water that we use for our business, by year 2020. This target was actually already met by 2015, but we are continuing with doing more to replenish water in our markets.”

The project implementing partner, Indus Earth Trust is an experienced not-for-profit organization established in 2000, and working in the area of sustainable development to aid neglected coastal communities in Pakistan. Speaking about the partnership with Coca-Cola, IET’s CEO, Shahid Khan stated that the project will lead to meeting SDG 3 and SDG 6, and encourage reverse migration, as rural people will tend to return to their home villages from trying to find livelihood in cities, if their own areas are provided at least with water for their traditional occupation of agriculture and livestock keeping.

IET has previously partnered with Coca-Cola and UNDP in providing potable water to 30 villages in interior Sindh. This project provided water on tap for the very first time to the beneficiaries, using solar pumps to extract the water and pump it to an overhead tank, for distribution as close to households as the communities require.

The Arcadian is lending its support to the Birmingham Comedy Festival for the sixth consecutive year.

Recently voted Best Midlands Arts Festival in the What’s On Readers’ Awards 2017, the festival runs from Friday 6 October to Sunday 15 October 2017, and will see a host of established and fast-rising names taking to stages across the city.

The Arcadian, which is owned and managed by leading commercial property investment and management company LCP, is home to a variety of leisure and entertainment businesses, including the multi-award-winning Glee Club - one of the UK’s leading comedy venues.

A spokesperson for the festival said: “We’re delighted to be working with The Arcadian again this year. The centre’s many restaurants, cafes and bars make it an ideal destination for a night out, and it’s of course where The Glee, one of our core venues, is based.

“We’re looking forward to seeing some great shows at the club during the festival, including our official opening night launch event, the Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.”

The Arcadian first signed up as official sponsor for the ten-day event in 2011.

Jo Kinsella, Centre Manager at The Arcadian, said: “We are only too pleased to lend our support once again to this excellent event that takes place on our doorstep. It always attracts a great crowd of visitors from across the country.”

This line-up for this year’s festival will be officially announced over the summer. For more information, visit:

The Arcadian is a unique entertainment venue in Birmingham city centre, located in the heart of vibrant Southside, Chinatown and the Theatre District.

30 years ago, Rickshaw Travel's local partner in Borneo decided to design a tour that would provide real interaction between tourists and a longhouse community in Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states in Borneo. Reaching the furthest points of the Delok river, they came across the Nanga Sumpa Longhouse in Batang Ai and met the Iban tribe who settled there in the 15th century. Because their key objective was to involve the longhouse community in a meaningful way, in order to not disrupt their way of life, it was important to see how receptive the community would be to hosting visitors. Following discussions with the elders of the community, they agreed to build a lodge for travellers adjacent to the longhouse to minimise disruption to the families living there.

What began as a simple camp is now the Nanga Sumpa lodge housing up to 18 guests at a time. As well as offering guests a glimpse into the tribe's lifestyle, visiting the lodge provides a substantial income to the Iban communities in some of the remote areas such as Sumpa, where around 2500 visitors come each year.

In Rickshaw's new Brilliantly Borneo itinerary, travellers can stay in the longhouse and learn about the Iban 'headhunting' culture. Offering a mix of wildlife-spotting, rugged and pristine beaches, adventure and magical sights, this Borneo itinerary is ideal for travellers who want to see everything that Borneo has to offer. Whether its staying with the famous Iban tribe and learning about their traditional way of life, or exploring the Mulu caves in search of bats and keeping eyes peeled for wildlife, there's a whole host of activities to keep travellers busy. And, with some added beach time at the end, travellers can relax and recuperate on the shimmering shores of Lankayan. This 24-day trip is priced from £3495 pp including accommodation (price based on two sharing) with breakfast, permits and other meals, transport and excursions as described in the itinerary.

Work on Wolverhampton’s new city centre market is set to start in early August after planning permission was granted. City of Wolverhampton Council announced in January the relocation of the market from Market Square.

The new Southside site, fronting Cleveland Street, will boast 20 cabins and 48 stalls. Dozens of enquiries have been received from prospective traders interested in being part of the new market and there is already a waiting list for some of the new facilities.

The council is now only taking applications for cabins from street food vendors as all the retail units are taken, and there is limited space remaining on the outdoor stalls.

The new market will provide increased footfall from the Wulfrun Centre and transport Interchange, as well as situating the market in a student catchment area.

The current city centre traders have had first refusal on obtaining licenses at the new market, which will offer the flexibility to trade from bigger cabins, a secure site, CCTV, integrated lighting and power, free WiFi, canopy-covered walkways, offices, customer toilets, and comprehensive parking and storage facilities.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “Demand for the new city market is high and now the plans have been approved we can secure a contractor to deliver the scheme.

“We are consulting regularly with the current traders over the relocation – and we are delighted with the interest we have had from new applicants.

“Their addition will provide a more varied range of sales lines to differentiate it from a traditional market offer.

“The new market, funded by the sale of Market Square as part of the Westside scheme, has loads of potential – and we want this to be the people’s market, where events are also encouraged.It will prove an asset to the city centre.”

The former Netto store and adjoining buildings were cleared from the Southside site last year, paving the way for the move, which will see 48 tented stalls and 16 purpose-built cabins transferred from Market Square in phases.

It is anticipated the move will be completed in winter 2017/18 – but not during the Christmas trade period.

The Market Square location is to be absorbed into the new £55 million leisure-led Westside development by developer Urban & Civic.

This will deliver a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, bars, hotel, multi-storey car park, apartments, and public realm to the heart of the city centre, in two phases, over five years.

A temporary market has been in place since April last year when the indoor traders joined the outdoor traders in Market Square to enable the demolition of Heantun House and the old indoor market.

The city centre market is one of three markets in Wolverhampton, with Bilston and Wednesfield markets also popular places to shop.

A range of events, activities and challenges have been planned by property specialist Leaders in support of Children’s Hospice Week later this month.

Employees at Leaders will bake, walk, cycle, dress up, hold raffles and much more in an effort to raise as much money and awareness as possible for their charity partner Together for Short Lives and their local children’s hospices.

Allison Thompson, managing director at Leaders, says: “Children’s Hospice Week is the UK’s only awareness and fundraising week for children with life-shortening conditions, their families and the services that support them. The theme this year is ‘Turn up the Volume’ and we are proud to be shouting our support from the rooftops for this extremely worthy cause.

“Each of our branches across the country has been paired with its local children’s hospice so the money we raise locally goes towards supporting local children and their families. This is our third year partnering with Together for Short Lives and our staff are as enthusiastic as ever about doing what they can to raise funds and awareness during Children’s Hospice Week.”

Some of the events confirmed by Leaders branches ahead of Children’s Hospice Week, which runs from 22nd to 28th May, include sponsored walks, runs and cycles; a wine and cheese evening; raffles and tombolas; competitions, dressing up and even a sponsored leg wax! There will also be the opportunity to donate a day’s rent for landlords who wish to support the cause.

Nick Appleby, head of corporate partnerships at Together for Short Lives, says: “Children’s Hospice Week is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about the number and needs of children with life-limiting conditions and to celebrate all the lifeline services that children and families rely on. We are thrilled to have the support of Leaders once again this year, and we are very excited to see the wonderful variety of fundraising activities their employees and branches undertake in support of the week.“

Leaders first named Together for Short Lives as its Charity of the Year in 2015. Since then the company has raised over £95,000 and is aiming to raise another £50,000 this year.

A scheme which encourages parents who have received help from Children's Services to "champion" the support available to other mums and dads has received a national award.

The City of Wolverhampton Council’s Parent Champion scheme manager Reeta Shemar was named Coordinator of the Year by the Family and Childcare Trust last month – and representatives of the Trust have subsequently visited Wolverhampton to meet local Parent Champions and see the scheme in action.

The Parent Champion scheme recruits local men and women to talk to other parents about their experiences of children's social care services.

The volunteers work to build trust among families, and inform parents about the various opportunities available to them – such as the free childcare for three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

They also offer a befriending service, encourage new and prospective mums and dads to get help and support from their local Strengthening Families Hub and elsewhere, and enable parents to have their say on the development of services.

As well as helping others, Parent Champions reap benefits of their own. Becoming a Parent Champion strengthens participants’ employability by developing their skills and confidence – and a number have gone on to secure paid employment or join training programmes thanks to the support they receive in their voluntary role.

Emma Harriott, who started accessing children's services in 2013 when she became a mum for the first time, became a parent champion last year. It gave her the experience and confidence to look for a job working with children, and she was encouraged to apply for a role as a Strengthening Families Worker at one of the City’s Strengthening Families Hubs, a post she secured in July.

She said: “The support and confidence that I gained while volunteering encouraged me to apply for a job that I thought I would never get.

“I have no hesitation in recommending the Parent Champion programme to families as it really does change people’s lives. Now I help families to improve their prospects, just like I did."

Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "The Parent Champions scheme is a wonderful initiative which enables mothers and fathers who have had first-hand experience of children's services in Wolverhampton to share their knowledge with others.

"They give a few hours a week to talk to other local parents about the services which are available to them, and because they are parents themselves, they are able to share their own experiences in a relatable, trusted and informal way.

"We have trained up 18 volunteers over the last year or so, and have just recruited a third cohort of nine who will soon be out and about sharing their knowledge with local families.

"Emma is a fantastic example of the benefits of volunteering as a Parent Champion can bring, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in taking on this important role to contact us to find out more.” She added: "I am delighted that the efforts of our Parent Champions, and the fantastic support of the City of Wolverhampton Council, has been recognised on a national stage by the Family and Childcare Trust, particularly as the scheme has only been running in Wolverhampton for 16 months.”

Sympathetic restoration work to a Grade II listed Sandwell house has been recognised in a building excellence award.

The Lightwoods House restoration scheme picked up the Best Public Building title in the West Midlands Building Excellence Awards.

The house and park have undergone a transformation under the £5.2 million Lightwoods Park and House restoration project, with £3.6 million secured from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).

As part of the project the Grade II listed house, built in 1791, has been lovingly restored back to its former glory and is now a high-quality venue for a wide range of community activities as well as public and private events.

Now there is a tea room, community rooms for training, classes and exhibitions, a children’s centre, a large function room for events such as wedding ceremonies, receptions and conferences as well as numerous office spaces to let.

The building’s many original features have been carefully restored by the contractors, Conservation Heritage Building & Conservation (Staffordshire) Ltd, working alongside architects from Sandwell Council’s Urban Design team.

Nominations for the prestigious awards are made by building control teams from councils across the West Midlands metropolitan region and were presented to winners at an event held at Birmingham’s ICC on Friday (April 28).

Sandwell’s other winner was a new self-build in Corngreaves Road, Cradley Heath which picked up the Best Individual Home award.

The private self-build project beat far bigger and more expensive new builds because of the combination quality of build achieved, the complexity of the engineering works required to address the requirements, the difficult location and the fact that the design and almost all of the physical work was carried out by the owner himself.

Accord’s striking Eastern Gateway Phase 3 building on West Bromwich High Street and the small housing development at Holly Lane Smethwick by Devan Homes were also Highly Commended in the awards.

Duchy Originals, founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year as sales for the brand surpass £200 million for the first time.

The brand was created by The Prince to champion organic farming and is known today as Waitrose Duchy Organic, following a groundbreaking partnership established between Duchy Originals and Waitrose in 2009.

The brand has come a long way in 25 years since the first product, the ever-popular oaten biscuit, went on sale. Waitrose Duchy Organic is now the UK's largest own-label organic brand and the second largest UK organic brand overall.

To celebrate its success, Waitrose is launching a competition this week inviting customers to submit their ideas for a main course featuring the organic brand's ingredients. The winner will be invited to a celebratory banquet at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland where their winning dish will be served at a dinner hosted by The Prince of Wales.  Details for the competition can be found in Waitrose Weekend, the supermarket's weekly newspaper, from this Thursday.

Rob Collins, Managing Director, Waitrose, says:

"This 25th anniversary highlights the extraordinary vision of The Prince of Wales. In creating the Duchy brand, he has encouraged more sustainable agriculture and expanded the market for organic food in the UK and around the world. We are honoured to be the custodians of the brand and delighted to have achieved the significant milestone of £200m in annual sales."

A donation from the sale of Waitrose Duchy Organic products is also given to The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation. So far, just over £17 million has been donated to charitable causes, including the Duchy Future Farming Programme, which helps farmers develop more sustainable farming practices and The Prince's Countryside Fund, which works to secure a brighter future for those who live and work in the British countryside.

Based on the core values of 'Tastes Good, Is Good, Does Good', the food is produced without the use of artificial fertilisers and to high standards of animal husbandry.  The use of pesticides and antibiotics is very much restricted.

The current range of Waitrose Duchy Organics available in the UK has grown to 300 products, from bacon to fresh fruit and vegetables to beer. The brand has also proved popular overseas. Products are exported to over 30 countries worldwide, including Japan, Germany, USA, Australia, Dubai and Taiwan.  The biggest selling category internationally is shortbread biscuits.

UK games industry charity GamesAid is pleased to announce the launch of a new era of fundraising with the ‘Digital For Good’ initiative.

‘Digital For Good’ offers videogame developers and publishers the opportunity to donate in-game content so it may be monetised and raise funds for the charities GamesAid supports.

Full games, in-game items or DLC can be donated via Steam either in perpetuity or for a specified period of time to help the good causes.

The new initiative launches today with the Cynical Imp Charity DLC for lighthearted dungeon manager War for the Overworld. This variety pack of skins and themes is available at three different donation tiers, with 100% of the proceeds going to GamesAid. As regular supporters of GamesAid, Gamer Network - the world’s leading network of independent video games media - is supporting the launch of of the Cynical Imp Charity DLC. For more information and to purchase the Cynical Imp, please visit the War for the Overworld website. The Cynical Imp is also available on Steam.

To date GamesAid has raised over £2.5million and it is hoped that this new initiative will enable the charity to leverage its greatest asset in the industry to benefit those who need it most.

Last year Access Sport, Accuro, Action For Kids, Aidis Trust, Blackpool Carers Centre, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, Lifelites, MAPS, Solving Kids’ Cancer, and Special Effect all received cheques for £95,400 each during a special ceremony held at Warner House, London. It’s hoped that this new initiative will help increase that number for 2017 and beyond.

"The industry is evolving and with it so are the options to raise funds for the charities that GamesAid supports,” commented GamesAid Chair Ian Chambers. “This initiative offers game developers and publishers a straightforward and impactful way through which to raise funds from their content."

Andy Street, the former John Lewis boss, and the Conservative candidate for West Midlands Mayor, surprised many when he won the mayoral election on Thursday 4th May. Mr Street won the election on the back of making several promises to bring change and improvement to the West Midlands, and to ensure that the region was not left behind, in these changing times. The West Midlands Mayor will have control over transport, housing and jobs.

For our readers, here’s a refresher for what we at The Phoenix Newspaper believe are his key policies.

During the campaign, Andy Street highlighted the importance of developing a proper transport network within the West Midlands to ensure that people could get to work on time, and to do the things they wished to in their spare time. To this end, he proposed opening several new tram and train lines between Birmingham City Centre and various other areas of Birmingham, such as King’s Heath and Moseley. Mr Street has also discussed improving the car parks in Birmingham and other areas in the West Midlands to ensure better security for citizens and their cars.

Mr Street highlighted the importance of ensuring that people were given the tools to get back into work during the campaign as well. He focused on ensuring that apprenticeships were rolled out for the people, including digital apprenticeships, to ensure that the people of the West Midlands had the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive and changing world. Mr Street focused particularly on increasing youth employment through his digital apprenticeship scheme, and through ensuring that they were put through an employment boot camp to properly equip them for the world of work.

Housing was highlighted throughout the mayoral campaign as a serious issue for the people of the West Midlands. The candidates all expressed the ways in which they hoped to address this issue, Mr Street amongst them. Mr Street proposed building new houses on allotments of green belt, as well as on brown belt. This, he argued during the campaign would spread the balance of housing development, whilst also preserving valuable patches of green belt for conservation. He proposed that this method would help see 25,000 houses built in the West Midlands over three years.

Now that he has been elected mayor, Mr Street will have a tough task ahead of him. It will be interesting to see whether he is fit for the challenge!

The former John Lewis chief will lead the West Midlands Combined Authority and the cabinet consisting of the seven West Midlands Council Leaders.

Thanking his team, Street said: "I want to be a mayor who works for everyone across the West Midlands and binds all of our leaders together.

“That’s because ultimately that's what this job is all about - about building a team to champion the West Midlands, building an alliance with central government, with local people, that will put the West Midlands back in its rightful place as the leading region of the UK."

At the end of a close content, Street came out on top over Labour candidate Sion Simon by only around 4,000 votes.

A West Midlands mayor was part of the devolution deal between the WMCA and the government, which will see more than £1.1bn made available for investment in the region over the next 30 years.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “We look forward to working with Andy to help make the region the best possible place to start, grow and move a business and ensure a strong business voice is heard in the West Midlands Combined Authority.“While the General Election is understandably taking a significant amount of media and political attention at present, we would urge the new mayor not to lose time in their (relatively short) 3-year term and get straight to the business of establishing their office and delivering for the region.”

The Phoenix Newspaper wishes him well in his new role!

With the better weather and more opportunity to get outdoors to start training, now is the ideal time to commit to this year’s Heart of England Bike Ride.  Now in it’s 12th year this well-established, popular family bike ride organised by the Knowle and Dorridge Lions takes place to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and local causes.

Starting between 9.30am and 11.30am on Sunday 16 July at Packwood House near Solihull, cyclists have a choice of approximately 12, 18 or 30 mile circular routes (20km, 30km or 50km) along Warwickshire country lanes. Cyclists can take on the ultimate challenge and cycle approximately 60 miles (100km) by completing all three routes.

“This event seems to be going from strength to strength with over 750 riders raising more than £20,000 for charity last year,” says Knowle and Dorridge Lions organiser Paul Wheatley. “With a choice of 4 distances there is something for all abilities, families, teams & individuals. We received great feedback from riders last July who enjoyed the lovely atmosphere, getting fit, completing a challenge and raising money for charity, all at the same time.

It is a great opportunity to spend a Sunday with friends, family or colleagues cycling through the glorious Warwickshire countryside and villages. After the bike ride, food will be available to purchase from the Lions Club BBQ and there is free entry to Packwood House and gardens. It’s a great day out for everyone!”

The Lions are delighted to welcome back main sponsor Hollywood Monster. “This will be our 7th year supporting the Lions. They do a great job organising this and other fundraising events” says Chief Executive Simon McKenzie “We shall be entering a team and hopefully have a new Hollywood Monster to wave off the riders from Packwood House on the morning.”

Street racers are being warned they could lose their car, their job or even their liberty if they take part in a car cruise in the Black Country.

An injunction, introduced in February 2015, will remain in place following a High Court hearing on Thursday, April 27. It bans people from taking part in a car cruise anywhere within the four Black Country boroughs – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton – or from promoting, organising or publicising such an event.

His Honour Judge McKenna sitting at the high court evaluating the injunction concluded that it had proven “successful” in reducing instances of car cruising. And the authorities are warning they won't hesitate to take action against anyone who breaches it.

The injunction defines car cruising as the act of drivers meeting on the public highway on an organised or impromptu basis to race or show off in their cars. Anyone who breaches it risks being in contempt of court, for which they could face up to two years in prison and a fine.

Police can also take action against individuals for traffic offences including driving without due care and attention, driving without insurance – no insurance policy covers illegal street racing – or driving an unroadworthy vehicle.

Already 13 people have been convicted of contempt of court since the injunction came into force and further prosecutions are pending. There has also been a significant reduction in car cruising activity across the Black Country.

Councillor Paul Sweet, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Well-being, said: "We welcome the judge’s stance on this and his comments on the success of the injunction. The four Black Country councils and West Midlands Police remain committed to the injunction as an important tool to cut anti-social behaviour and make the public safer.  

“Car cruising, has been eliminated in certain areas altogether and deters would-be car cruisers. We will remain vigilant and will not hesitate to take action against those suspected of participating in car cruises in the Black Country or indeed those who seek to organise them.

Superintendent Dean Hatton of West Midlands Police Roads Policing added: "The injunction enables us, together with our partners, to continue to tackle those individuals who flout the laws of the road and pose a danger for innocent members of the public.

"Anyone who is convicted of contempt of court by breaching the injunction could face jail or be hit with a large fine. At the same time, by committing traffic offences they could be banned from driving or have their car seized."

The injunction was granted in December 2014 and was sought to tackle the menace of car cruising, which was blighting the lives of residents and having a detrimental impact on businesses throughout the region. And it has had an instant impact, with police and councils reporting a significant reduction in car cruising across the Black Country, and the problem being eliminated altogether in many areas.

The injunction prohibits a number of activities and consequences typically associated with car cruising, including speeding, racing or driving in convoy, performing stunts, obstructing the highway, excessive noise, and causing the risk of harm to people or property.

The four Black Country councils and West Midlands Police secured the ground-breaking injunction after receiving hundreds of complaints about car cruising from residents and businesses over a number of years.

They ranged from complaints about dangerous driving, speeding and vehicles and spectators obstructing highways or residential or business properties, to excessive noise, littering, verbal abuse and intimidation.

Walsall College Foundation Art & Design students exhibited and sold their unique hand-made artists’ books at Walsall New Art Gallery.

Hundreds of visitors attended the exhibition and purchased limited edition books in support of upcoming talent.

As part of their course, Art and Design students made a range of different types of books using unconventional materials and printing techniques, and exploring a variety of themes.

Students also volunteered on the day to help manage the event and one student, Emily Wakeling, designed the poster and flyers used to promote the event.

Student, Jake Semper, said: “It was great to share our work with members of the public and see them take a keen interest in what we have produced. I received a lot of good feedback about my books which was really pleasing.’’

Foundation Art and Design Tutor at Walsall College, Maria Wigley, said: “It was a very busy day for the students and so well supported by family and friends and gallery visitors. Our students were able to interact with members of the public and see their work in a major international gallery.”

Foundation Art and Design Tutor at Walsall College, Sue Krejzl, said: “Following the success of this exhibition, we are now exploring more collaborative and work experience opportunities for students at the gallery to support their career progression.”