Colors: Blue Color

The Birmingham 2022 Festival has announced its six-month long cultural programme taking place across Birmingham and the West Midlands. It will be the biggest celebration of creativity ever seen in the region and one of the largest ever cultural programmes to surround the Commonwealth Games.

There will be over 200 events including a spectacular open-air show, a brand-new Birmingham inspired album, an immersive 3D experience on public transport, photography exhibitions across billboards, a city centre forest of magical proportions, a mass tap-dancing extravaganza and much, much more.

Associate Professor Steven McCabe, a political economist at Birmingham City University, has warned the Russian invasion of Ukraine will see the UK hit with further price hikes around fuel, gas prices, wheat and vital minerals used in key manufacturing processes.

 “Ukraine, like the country invading it, has huge natural resources. Since the fall of Communism, we’ve become used to a steady supply of raw materials and basic foodstuffs from Russia and former ‘satellite’ states including Ukraine.

In the run up to International Women’s Day (8 March), the perspective of women is examined through opera and theatre as part of the spring season of events from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University.

The real-life stories of female convicts bound for Tasmania in the 1850s, are the subject of the opera Banished. Composed by Stephen McNeff in 2016, it will be directed by internationally-acclaimed director, Daisy Evans who has worked with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Up to 400 saplings will be given away across the region this half-term week to encourage more people to get growing and boost the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Virtual Forest.

WMCA’s Right Tree, Right Place campaign has visited Birmingham, and will call at Wolverhampton and Coventry later this week to hand out the potted saplings to people. These can be taken home and put in a garden and then registered on the virtual forest website.

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is supporting thousands of customers around the country who have been hit by Storm Eunice, with over two claims coming in every minute at its busiest point.

The storm, which saw gusts as high as 120mph hit the country, has caused widespread damage to homes, farms and other businesses all across the UK. Damage to power lines resulted in power cuts, trees were pulled from the ground, and buildings were damaged as the winds ripped through the country.

Eunice arrived right on the heels of destructive Storm Dudley. The windstorm duo struck Europe with deadly force, unloading 100-mph winds in areas and causing a frightening scene on a commuter ferry in Germany.

A one-two punch of powerful windstorms has left northern and central Europe reeling since last week, and AccuWeather meteorologists say yet another potent storm will sweep across the region through Monday.

Birmingham City Council’s plans to improve facilities and capacity at a cemetery and crematorium in south Birmingham have been unveiled ahead of next week’s Cabinet meeting (1 March).

King’s Norton Cemetery, which opened its first two phases in 2005, is set to reach capacity in less than two years and available graves for baby and Muslim burials are set to do the same shortly. Before April 2020 around 219 burials took place at the cemetery per year, but during the pandemic that figure rose to an average of 525 burials a year.

The CEO of Utilita Energy - the UK’s only energy supplier created to help households use LESS energy - has written to every local authority in Great Britain asking them to invite residents due to receive the £150 council tax reduction, to donate it, where possible, to National Energy Action (NEA England and Wales) or Energy Action Scotland (EAS), to help the fuel poor.

Bill Bullen, the Founder and CEO of Utilita Energy has slammed the Government’s poorly targeted cost of living support package, saying low-income households will be forced further into poverty, and will need to choose between heating or eating in colder months.

Tettenhall Transport Heritage Centre (TTHC) is in line for a major boost with City of Wolverhampton Council set to approve a new 35-year lease for its home. The Community Asset Transfer, on a peppercorn-rent basis, will enable the charity - based off Henwood Road at the former Tettenhall Railway Station Goods Depot - to secure grant funding and support the continued delivery of its museum and community involvement, as well as develop its educational curriculum support around Wolverhampton’s role in the Second World War.  

To demonstrate what recycled plastics can do, Fortum has developed a chair made from Fortum Circo recycled plastic produced from post-consumer plastic waste.

The self-rising Virén Chair is inspired by Lasse Virén, a Finnish long-distance runner who fell in the middle of the 10,000-metre final in the Munich Olympics. The odds were not in his favour, but he got up, won gold, and set a new world record.

The Government has today (February 21) launched ParentWise, a six-week pilot communications campaign aimed at providing support and advice to parents and carers in the West Midlands. The campaign aims to build parents’ and carers’ awareness of some of the things their children could face growing up, and has been designed to help them spot the signs that something could be wrong and empower and reassure them to act if they are worried.

Rail passengers are being warned of further travel disruption after Storm Eunice hit the country.

The warning came as Network Rail engineers worked to clear trees and debris from railway lines after Storm Dudley brought gusts of 90mph overnight. With just a few hours calm between the storms, specialist teams worked all day to clear up after Dudley after trees were brought down in multiple locations.