Colors: Blue Color

A three-tiered service for Birmingham’s Community Library have been drawn up following feedback from citizens during a recent public consultation. Initial plans (with opening hours and staff support reduced in tiers 2 and 3) were put forward as part of the council’s effort to respond to reduced funding from central government and would have seen the libraries at Aston and Sutton closed – reducing annual expenditure by £1.9million by 2018/19.

Mental health came under the spotlight at a unique Sandwell event aimed at improving care and support in the community. More than 50 people took part in the Ideas Festival held at West Bromwich Town Hall and hosted by the borough’s Mental Health People’s Parliament and rights-based organisation Changing Our Lives. The event focused on ‘community places of safety’, where people can go for support.

A mid-life crisis will cost people living in the West Midlands an average of £7,767.38 and is likely to start at the age of 43, according to new research commissioned by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). The cost of £7,767.38 in the West Midlands is just higher than the UK average of £7712.39, and the start of 43 years old is the same as the UK average of 43.

The long haired cat - who has been named Millie - was found in a bus shelter near Kingstanding Road Police Station. The bus stop is located outside Lydons Vets. She was dumped with a cat carrier and a note reading ‘I am a one year old stray, I need a loving home thank you’. RSPCA inspector Elizabeth Boyd said: “Millie is a lovely, friendly cat, she is now being cared for at an RSPCA animal centre and is doing really well.

Football matches on Sandwell pitches will be cancelled this weekend (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 February) due to bad weather. Following inspection visits Sandwell Council confirms the pitches are already waterlogged. With more rain expected over the coming days the condition of the pitches is likely to worsen.  The decision has been taken to prevent the pitches from becoming churned up and unusable for future matches this season.

Brighton, London or Ludlow: in 2017 it could be a list of places to visit or a reception class register. Yet it’s not just babies who get named after some of the world’s beautiful places - teddy bears are also more popular if their moniker can be found on a map. Merrythought, Britain’s last remaining luxury teddy bear manufacturer, today revealed their biggest sellers were bears named after towns and cities, with the medieval town of Shrewsbury proving more popular than the country’s capital, London.

New play activities for children are coming to Sandwell. A £330,000 grant will deliver free play and leisure sessions after school and during the holidays for six to 12-year-olds and children with special needs up to the age of 16. The council has recently awarded the cash to four voluntary groups who will run the free activities across Sandwell’s six towns. Murray Hall Community Trust will run sessions in Rowley Regis, The Albion Foundation in Smethwick, West Bromwich activities will be run by Creative Academies and Groundwork West Midlands will run sessions in Tipton, Oldbury and Wednesbury.

Yardley Residents Action Group, which represents residents in the Birmingham district of Yardley and the wider community, is hoping to save two football pitches from being built on by appealing to professional clubs to buy the land. The Barrows Lane playing fields and social club in Yardley, where Midland football stars Craig Gardner and Darren Carter first played the game, are facing a resubmitted planning application by their owner the Co-op for new homes. 

The Library of Birmingham and the British Library have received £91,700 of National Lottery funding to present Documenting Histories, a partnership project celebrating the important role South Asian culture has played in forming Birmingham’s history and identity. At the heart of the project is a major exhibition which will open in July, drawing on both libraries’ rich collections, supported by a programme of complementary events and workshops during 2017.

Marie Curie, the terminal illness charity, has teamed up with six West Midlands law firms to offer a free will-writing service for anyone aged over 55. Every year many of us make New Year’s resolutions  - lose weight, give up smoking, sort finances -   some of us even resolve to make a will. This year, from 16th January-15th April 2017, law firms Quality Solicitors Davisons, Thursfields Solicitors, Wallace Robinson & Morgan Solicitors, Woollastons Solicitors, PSL Probate Solicitors and Irwin Mitchell LLP will be helping you to keep your resolution by offering the service on behalf of the charity.  

Birmingham City Council is backing a campaign to get half a million people out and about cleaning up their local communities in March 2017 – building on a successful local day of action staged last November. The brand new Great British Spring Clean will roll out for the first time in 2017, with a view to it becoming an annual event helping to bring people together and clean up the country.

Award-winning author Sathnam Sanghera will be full of pride as his home-town hosts the Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival. The former Wolverhampton Grammar School student, who has gone on to become an acclaimed author and journalist, was thrilled when festival organisers contacted him about taking part in the event which takes place from today (Friday, January 27) to Sunday 29.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is calling for Rugby fans and walkers from across the city to join their Rugby Ramble this February. The scenic 10 mile sponsored walk will take place on Saturday 11th February, starting from the Hospice and finishing at Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club where participants can watch the England vs Wales 6 Nations Match whilst refuelling with a tasty pie and a pint.

Lack of clarity on support available prevents employers from recruiting and retaining disabled staff, says a new report from the national charity Action on Hearing Loss. A YouGov poll conducted for the charity looked into employers’ attitudes to hearing loss demonstrated a lack of confidence amongst businesses when hiring people with hearing loss. It also highlighted a perceived lack of information and advice on supporting people with disabilities in the workplace.

A kind-hearted Occupational Therapist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham has conquered America’s New York marathon to raise money for the hospital that saved the life of her patient – and now friend – Tunisia terror attack victim, Alison Heathcote. Isobel Deeley, a 27 year old from Sutton Coldfield has worked as an occupational therapist at QEHB for three years. During that time she has met thousands of inspiring patients who have made great progress in the face of adversity, and this was never more true than in the case of Alison Heathcote, one of many victims of the June 2015 Tunisia mass killing.