Colors: Blue Color

A recently retired Sandwell special school principal has been named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. Gordon Phillips, who retired last summer after ten years as principal at The Meadows Sports College in Oldbury, was made an MBE (Member of the most excellent Order of the British Empire). Gordon, a father-of-two, started teaching in 1975 at Bishop Vaughan RC School in Plymouth, where he was a former pupil himself.

The way vehicles will access City of Wolverhampton Railway Station will change as of today, as part of the city’s £132 million Interchange improvements. It coincides with the switch to a new entrance for the extended multi-storey car park, which will be operational for the first time on the same day. From Sunday, motor vehicles will no longer be able to access the station via Railway Drive. Instead, they can access the station, multi-storey car park, short stay parking, passenger drop-off/pick-up area and taxi rank via Corn Hill.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is encouraging people from Birmingham and Sandwell to make volunteering top of their New Year’s resolution list. On Tuesday 17th January between 12pm and 2pm, the Hospice will be hosting a drop-in session at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (B5 6DR) for those interested in making a difference this year. At the drop-in session, members of the public will be able to find out more about the range of flexible volunteering opportunities the charity has available and how they can get involved.

In the new year, we all consider different resolutions to improve our lives. There are the usual get fit, quit smoking, cut down on alcohol or take up a new hobby. We all know them and we’ve all probably tried one of them at some point in our lives, but what about resolutions for our pets? We’ve had a think at our end on some ways to improve your pet’s new year and hopefully you’ll be able to benefit from it too.

Children are being encouraged to start 2017 with a bang by taking part in a popular weekly run for young people. The Wednesfield Junior Parkrun, launched 18 months ago, gives four to 14-year-olds the chance to run, jog or walk a 2km circuit around Wednesfield Park every Sunday morning. Parents can also join in if they wish. Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Junior Parkrun is a fantastic way for children and young people to get exercise, enjoy some fresh air and make new friends.

Hopefully you have exciting plans for 2017, a year that will be the most important in Cure Leukaemia's history and we hope you will be a part of this transformational period for the charity. Cure Leukaemia has made a commitment to raise an additional £1million towards the £3.4million expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Once established, the Centre’s capacity for research nurse positions, clinical trials and patients treated will be doubled and over 100 jobs will be created.

The last few days have seen freezing temperatures, frost and ice and the Met Office is predicting a frozen start to 2017.  Yet many of us still don't have our water pipes protected against the cold weather - with a few days of the Christmas break left, now is a great time to get things done. As the temperatures drop the ground freezes and then later thaws, and it’s when we have these swings in temperatures that we often see more leaks and burst water pipes.

In the series of Winter Package distribution among needy and poor people of Pakistan, Alkhidmat Foundation Punjab arranged a winter kits distribution ceremony at Child Protection Centre, Rana Town, Lahore. Mr. Ikram Ul Haq Subhani, General Secretary AKF Punjab and Mr. Tayyab, Individual Donor from Germany, distributed winter kits among street children.

Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council have successfully bid for £400,000 of government funding to help get people new to the streets the rapid support that they need. The Rough Sleeping Grant will be used to support people by offering them a safe place to sleep, physical and mental health checks and substance misuse screening.  Work will be co-ordinated through a team of nurses, substance misuse workers and housing and support officers and will link to existing outreach and other service providers.

The charity raffle was the UK’s favourite way to help raise money for good causes in 2016 according to new research published today by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Almost one in five of us (19%) have taken part in a charity raffle in the past 12 months - making it the UK’s top fundraising activity of the year. Tea and cake also play a big part in the nation’s charity fundraising efforts, revealed the YouGov poll which was commissioned by CAF.

Royal Mail predicts that ‘Take-back Tuesday’ – the first working day in the New Year – will be the busiest day for online shopping returns through the post as shoppers rush to send back unwanted Christmas gifts. On Tuesday 3 January, returns of online purchases are predicted to jump by more than 50 per cent in a single day, versus the average number of return parcels per day in December. 

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is calling on people to kick start the New Year in an eco-friendly way by backing its largest ever ‘Treecycling’ scheme. On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January, flocks of volunteers will be collecting more than a thousand real Christmas trees for recycling. In return for a minimum suggested donation of £10, trees will be collected by volunteers and local businesses to be recycled into compost, mulch or bio-mass fuel.

Relatives of a man who passed away recently are being asked to get in touch with the City of Wolverhampton Council. Robert Thickett, who was a resident in a care home in Bilston, was 77. It is thought he had previously lived in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham. The City of Wolverhampton Council is trying to trace Mr Thickett’s relatives so that his funeral can be arranged.

Work is starting on the construction of a £6 million new care home in Rowley Regis as part of an agreement between Sandwell Community Caring Trust and Sandwell Council. The work is part of a special link-up between Sandwell Community Caring Trust (SCCT) and the council to provide modern facilities for older people. The new care home is being built on the site of Knowle House. When it is completed, the staff and residents from Grafton Lodge in Grafton Road, Oldbury, will transfer to the building.

People with disabilities treated Sandwell’s social care chief to a performance of Christmas songs when she visited a day centre in West Bromwich. Councillor Ann Shackleton, the council’s cabinet member for social care, met people who use the Stoney Lane Day Centre, which provides day opportunities for adults with physical and learning disabilities. Councillor Shackleton joined singer Rajni Patel and others in a Christmas sing-song.