Colors: Purple Color

Covid-19 has cost some city and large town centres in the West Midlands more than half a year’s worth of potential takings since March 2020. This is according to Cities Outlook 2022 – Centre for Cities’ annual economic assessment of the UK’s largest urban areas.

Central Birmingham is worst affected, losing 46 weeks of sales between the first lockdown and Omicron’s onset. Businesses in Coventry and Stoke city centres are also among the worst hit.

FareShare Midlands is building on its overall mission to fight hunger and tackle food waste, by creating opportunities through their employability programmes. With an ambition by 2024 to support​400 people into vocational training, placements or paid work, this year the charity has already shown impressive success across the schemes.

In Birmingham, the I-CAN employability programme in partnership with the PURE Employment Service (funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund) is a six-week programme of classroom and work experience to help individuals aged over 25 to develop the skills, knowledge and expertise they require to enter training and employment in the warehousing and logistics sector.

Major Midland employers including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Severn Trent Water will be amongst the organisations at next month’s apprenticeship open day at Make UK in Birmingham, which will also feature apprentice vacancies with immediate starts.

As well as the chance to speak to potential employers and members of the Make UK team, the free event on Saturday February 12th will spotlight the incredible opportunities available in engineering and manufacturing, and include several ‘have a go’ activities - including a Lean Tyre Challenge, F1 Track and 3D printing.

German heating, industrial and refrigeration systems manufacturer Viessmann has bolstered its heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) expertise with the acquisition of Durham-based Pacifica Home Services Ltd (PHS) – with the support of Midlands law firm Shakespeare Martineau.

PHS is a specialist in both installation and maintenance of integrated HVAC solutions with a further specialisation in heat pumps, and is well-known to end customers under the brand 0800 Repair.

The Chancellor held a virtual roundtable with small businesses to launch Help to Grow: Digital, designed to support smaller businesses adopt new tech to help them thrive.

Rishi Sunak hosted the call with over 30 businesses from across the UK at CineBowl in Uttoxeter on January 20th to mark the launch of the scheme, where he spoke to people on a big screen about their experiences before taking part in a Q&A session. The scheme includes a dedicated website providing free advice and support and software vouchers to boost productivity and help businesses grow.

Covid-19 has cost businesses in Birmingham city centre 46 weeks’ worth of potential takings since March 2020. This is according to Cities Outlook 2022 – Centre for Cities’ annual economic assessment of the UK’s largest urban areas.

Birmingham’s lost sales are the biggest of any city or town centre in the West Midlands and the second biggest in the country after London.

As the nation waits with bated breath for the Sue Grey report that will either damn or exonerate Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a request has gone in to find out exactly how much booze was being drunk in Downing Street.

A national waste and recycling company is going where no investigative journalist has gone before, and has submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out the truth.

The Government has been shown first-hand how the region’s nationally leading brownfield regeneration programme is bringing one of the biggest derelict sites in the West Midlands back to life.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) portfolio holder for housing and land, joined cabinet minister Oliver Dowden to see work get underway on the Phoenix 10 development in Walsall.

Businesses are being encouraged to mark the New Year by pledging to support the West Midlands’ drive to become a net zero region by 2041. And to help make the move towards a carbon free future, 100 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are also being offered sponsored access to Zellar, the UK’s first one-stop sustainability online platform.

The Net Zero Business Pledge was launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in 2021 to provide practical help for businesses and other organisations who want to fight climate change by cutting their carbon emissions and making a faster transition to net zero.

More than 50 projects to improve road, rail, tram, bus, cycling and walking routes across the region have been agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board. The list of preferred schemes will now be submitted to the DfT for final approval, after which the full list will be published.

The wide-ranging plans include more than 100km of new segregated cycle routes, 50km of bus lanes and priority measures, a new railway station at Aldridge and the UK’s first very light rail line in Coventry City Centre.

With more weddings than ever planned this year, it’s no surprise that engaged couples are looking for ways their big day can stand out from the rest. Wedding expert Lisa Forde, who founded leading wedding stationery favourites Tree of Hearts, said 2022 will be a monumental year for love. 

“It’s going to be a huge year for the wedding industry,” Lisa says. “Traditionally popular dates for a wedding have been Thursday through to Sunday, but this year we’re seeing more and more weddings planned for every day of the week as venues get booked up following postponements from the last two years. 

Are you one of the 1 in 4 sleepers that are kept awake at night by your partner’s snoring? Or are you in the 10% of the nation that wake themselves up with their own snoring? If you, or your other half, consider yourself a certified snorer, Silentnight may have just the job for you. 

While snorers are usually snubbed for their noisy night-time habits, the UK’s most trusted sleep brand is on the hunt for five serious snorers to test their sleep products in 2022 – being paid a cash prize of £300 in return!

Leading engineering firm adi Group has made a key appointment to its senior management team to lead its sustained growth plan.  

Paul Smith, whose near-30-year career includes delivering world-scale projects across the globe, joins the Birmingham-based multidisciplinary organisation from Wood PLC, where he led its Circular Economy, Green Mobility, FMCG and Life Sciences businesses in EMEA. 

National law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has become the first client-servicing solicitor firm to gain a CICMQ quality accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM). The CICMQ is the credit management industry’s accreditation for Best Practice, providing formal recognition for commitment to quality, continuous improvement and best practice in all things credit.