Colors: Purple Color

Novelty pants, fluffy slippers and turkey fat are just a few of the things that Severn Trent could be clearing from the sewers this Christmas if previous experience is anything to go on! As everyone is gearing up for Christmas engineers from the company are preparing for call outs to all kinds of blockages over the festive period. James Jesic, operations manager for Severn Trent, explained: “Over the years we’ve seen almost everything turn up in our sewers, from a pair of muppets slippers to a big pile of pants and even part of a motorbike!

After the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Trade Policy Forum in November, which focused upon Brexit, the Chamber formally wrote to the Prime Minister and David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Following this approach, the Chamber were delighted that Rt. Hon. David Jones MP, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, took up the offer to come and meet with members.

In light of the many challenges faced in the South Asian region in regards to migrant workers, the European Union Delegation to Nepal hosted a regional seminar on “Making Labour Migration Easy and Safe in South Asia” in Kathmandu, on December 2, with the support of DAI Europe and Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS). The event brought together participants from government institutions, institutes, think-tanks, civil society, media, migration associations, private sector, international community, SAARC Secretariat and international participants including EU Delegations to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The continuing recovery and success of companies in the Greater Birmingham area are credited with being one of the reasons for record membership figures achieved by the region’s largest business support organisation. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) returned a record month for membership in November, with over 80 new companies joining the organisation, which covers Birmingham, Solihull, Burton, Lichfield, Tamworth, Chase and Sutton Coldfield.

The way vehicles will access City of Wolverhampton Railway Station will change on Sunday, January 8 as part of the city’s £132 million Interchange improvements. This coincides with the switch to a new entrance for the multi-storey car park, which will open for the first time on the same day, after being extended and refurbished on schedule. The capacity will increase from 450 to more than 800 long stay parking spaces.

The last few days have seen freezing temperatures, frost and ice and we might yet see a white Christmas.  Yet many of us still don't have our water pipes protected against the cold weather. As the temperatures drop, Severn Trent is gearing up for what could be a very busy cold season. That’s because when the ground freezes and thaws in extreme temperatures we often see more leaks and burst water pipes.

Aston Manor, the UK’s largest independent cider maker based in Birmingham,is celebrating a record year for award wins, including the Drinks Business Green Awards’ Water Management category. In total the drinks producer, whose brands include Kingstone Press, Friels and Crumpton Oaks, has scooped 17 accolades and been shortlisted for a further five.

Ahead of noisy festive get-togethers national charity Action on Hearing Loss is calling on local people to speak out against background noise in restaurants, cafés and pubs by giving direct feedback to venues. This is part of the charity’s Speak Easy campaign for a quieter dining experience. The charity has launched a new downloadable campaign pack to make it easy for people to give feedback directly about the noise levels they experience when dining.

On 10 and 11 December, festive shoppers will be able to enjoy a gift boxing service to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. For one weekend only, Grand Central is teaming up with professional gift-packaging suppliers BoxMart, who will be on hand opposite Kiehl’s and Cath Kidston, to pack your presents in a variety of stylish giftboxes. The service will not have a set price; but instead the team will be asking for donations for Teenage Cancer Trust.

City of Wolverhampton Council is getting behind the city’s small businesses ahead of Small Business Saturday on December 3. The importance of handing out small ‘seed’ funds to assist fledgling businesses to take their first steps has been recognised, with a small grant programme now in place. New businesses have the chance to get their hands on £250 grants if they meet the criteria following an appraisal by business advisors from Access 2 Business (A2B), who also assist with business plans.

Hundreds of Sandwell childcare professionals attended a special presentation evening to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and high level of childcare in the borough. The special event at WS10 Conference Centre in Wednesbury was organised by the Sandwell Family Information Service and Sandwell Quality Early Years and Childcare Team. All the winners of the various sections were nominated by parents for the awards and received them from Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services, Chris Ward, Director of Education and Sara Baber, Early Years Lead.

Coventry fire-fighters were part of a great success for the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service at the latest meeting in London of the Asian Fire Service Association, which promotes diversity across all Fire and Rescue Services. Coventry stations were recognized as making a major contribution to reducing health inequalities, along with the Ekta-Unity Group and the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.  Deputy Chief Fire Officer Philip Hales received the award on behalf of Coventry colleagues.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce welcomed Sir John Peace to a lunch on Friday at the Molineux Stadium. Speaking at the event, he called for the Midlands to unite behind a single message to the rest of the UK, and indeed the World. This is his vision as Chair of the Midlands Engine and top of his agenda in the role. He spoke of all the things that make the Midlands a great place to live, work and invest; but felt that as a region we were not good at shouting about them. “We have a great story to tell and we must learn to tell it in a confident and positive way”, he urged.

A skinny little airplane parked in a hangar of the Centennial Airport aims to revolutionize how people fly and reintroduce the world to supersonic flight. Boom Technology has spent two years designing a supersonic passenger plane with the financial economics the defunct Concorde could never achieve. A full-size mockup of a smaller test plane will be unveiled publicly soon. If all goes well in flight tests next year, the company will move ahead and build a full-size 45-seat aircraft that can travel 2.2 times faster than the speed of sound at a price on par with business-class tickets: $5,000 round trip for a 3-hour-and-15-minute flight from New York to London.

A new report by the Consumer Council for Water, the independent representative of household and business water consumers in England and Wales, has highlighted some top performances by Severn Trent. The company, which supplies clean and waste water services for eight million people across the Midlands and mid-Wales, was the top water and sewerage company for complaint reduction, with complaints down 27.8% year-on-year in the past 12 months, and total complaints halved between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

In October, Black Country Chamber of Commerce staff and Affinity Partners visited the prestigious Lloyds of London building. During the visit, the history and evolution of the Lloyds of London market was explained and how it developed the principle of Insurance and its significance and continual success in today’s world. This was organised by Timmins Whittaker who have become a Black Country Chamber Affinity Partner and have put in place an exclusive insurance facility for Chamber members.