Colors: Blue Color

Learner drivers will benefit from improvements to the online driving instructor search service, DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn announced.

The ‘find driving schools, lessons and instructors’ service at has details of 26,000 DVSA approved driving instructors.

It’s been improved so instructors can add links to their driving school websites. New search filters allow learners to find instructors who choose to display the grade awarded to them by DVSA, follow the driving instructor code of practice and develop their knowledge and skills each year.

Our roads are some of the safest in the world but DVSA want to make sure that legal, fully-trained professionals teach learners.

It can be daunting for learners to know where to start when trying to choose a driving instructor. DVSA’s improved service gives more information to help learners and their parents.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

“It’s vital to choose the best approved driving instructor for you. They’ll help you learn the essential skills, knowledge and understanding you need to drive safely once you’ve passed your driving test.

“Making sure learner drivers have access to information that helps them choose the best instructor for their needs is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.”

Only fully-qualified driving instructors - who have passed enhanced criminal record checks and had their ability to teach assessed to a set standard - are allowed to have their details shown on the service.

Allowing instructors to add their website makes it easy for learner drivers to quickly compare and check the type of car they use and their lesson prices. If the instructor has their photo on their website, learners and their parents can be confident they’re getting in the car with the instructor they’ve chosen.

Chief Executive of the Driving Instructors Association, Carly Brookfield, said:

“We're pleased to see DVSA working to improve consumer information about the process of learning to drive. The latest developments to the find a driving school, lesson and instructor service will help consumers to make more informed choices -and driver trainers to promote their professionalism.”

The driver training industry is supporting the campaign to raise awareness of the road safety benefit of being taught by a professional and skilled expert.

Carly, who also chairs the steering group for national approved driving instructor associations (NASP), continued:

“NASP encourages all approved driving instructors to sign up to the driving instructor code of practice to show their commitment to professional personal and business conduct at all times.”

Experience the Christmas story in a new way at The Wintershall Nativity Play, brought to you by the Wintershall Players, producers of famous The Passion of Jesus which is now performed to an audience of over 20,000 people each Easter in Trafalgar Square.

The Wintershall Players first performed The Nativity in 1989, with a cast headed by Peter and Ann Hutley and their family on the family's beautiful farm, the Wintershall Estate, an area of extraordinary natural beauty which sits within the rolling landscape of the Surrey Hills, less than an hour from London. They pushed the cows out of the barn for a night and a handful of people came to see the makeshift production. One of the wise men found himself wearing Ann's fur hat and their pregnant daughter-in-law sat on a bale of hay with a torch in her mouth to light the action.

Now Holly Barn is a licensed theatre and thousands of visitors come to see the 90-minute Nativity every year. It featured on the BBC's Songs of Praise in 1996 and again in 2004. In 2013, the Nativity was performed in the BBC's Piazza in London to critical acclaim.

Dramatic and intimate, the story begins in the open air with the shepherds. The audience then take their seats in the atmospheric barn, where the story unfolds of how Jesus changed the world.   The play is performed by a cast of 50 in beautiful biblical costumes, with songs and music, assisted by a full complement of sheep, donkeys, horses and a sheepdog.  It is truly the perfect opportunity to enjoy a show with friends and family and enrich the experience of Christmas.

This year, for the first time, there will be three performances on Saturday 16th December to meet public demand. Mince pies and hot drinks will be available before the show.

Renowned Clapham craft beer pub The King & Co will welcome back much-loved popup chef Tem Ban this September and October, and also host the first extended takeover by hot newcomer Taco Rebels. Launching on 4th September, the Autumn kitchen residency double-header will see Taco Rebels debut their bold and mischievous flavour combinations to the pub's guests every Monday and Tuesday, then Tem Ban will serve up another taste of their sensational fresh take on traditional Thai food from Wednesday to Sunday each week. The popular independent free-house will also celebrate its third birthday with a weekend of fun events from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th September, including a mini beer festival featuring brews by the team themselves plus exclusive kegs and special brewery collaborations.

Following the huge success of their residency last year, rising star Tem Ban will return to The King & Co five days per week this September and October with an array of new dishes pairing core Southeast Asian ingredients with the best British seasonal produce. Visitors will be able to tuck into a regularly-changing selection of small and large plates designed to be enjoyed together family-style, such as grilled corn on the cob with salted coconut cream, chilli and lime; red duck curry with ginger, green beans and Thai basil; and pork belly salad with crispy fish flakes, lemongrass, coriander and red chilli dressing. Having spent over a decade honing his culinary skills working in acclaimed professional kitchens ranging from The Begging Bowl to Smoking Goat and even a recent stint at Bo.Lan in Bangkok, founder and head chef Craig Broadhurst can be trusted to provide vibrant meals that pack a punch and are sure to be memorable.

The King & Co's Autumn dual-residency will also introduce up-and-coming trader Taco Rebels and their interesting innovative twist on classic Mexican tortillas. Showcasing a fusion of the most diverse and powerful flavours from around the globe, the team of four friends are passionate about exciting diners' palates and bringing people together over great food. Ideal for sharing over a few pints, the taco lineup for the twice-weekly takeover will highlight top picks from their recent supperclub series at the London Cooking Project including the Pan-Asian Piggy filling of aromatic pork belly, pineapple and ginger salsa, sriracha and crema; and their signature beet balls with spiced carrot hummus, feta and charred kiwi salsa; as well as brand new creations like the Slumdog Muttonaire mix of curried lamb shoulder, raita slaw, bhaji crisp and pickles. Those looking for a mid-week feast can take advantage of the Rebels' #TacoTuesdays deal, offering either five tacos for just £15, or three tacos accompanied by a portion of Lock 'N Load Nachos.

Having earned a strong reputation as a local pub with a difference since its launch in September 2014, The King & Co will toast its third birthday with three days of celebrations from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th September. A mini beer festival will run all weekend at the relaxed welcoming space just moments away from the busy main drag of Clapham Common, promising an unmissable tap list that will see the pub's own beers being poured alongside unique collaboration brews, limited edition drinks, and favourites from top breweries chosen by owner Anthony Gunson and his fellow craft beer loving bartenders. On Saturday night the party will be in full swing with a live DJ session until 1am; then the festivities will draw to a close on Sunday with an entertaining Birthday Bingo game compèred by beloved quizmaster Tommy McTrivia, with both spot prizes up for grabs throughout and a pot of cash to be won at the end of the evening.

The new independent chair of the City of Wolverhampton's Safeguarding Boards has been appointed.

Linda Sanders, who is stepping down as Strategic Director People at the City of Wolverhampton Council on 31 August, is an experienced director of both Adults and Children's Services with a proven track record of delivering improved services and outcomes.

As independent chair of both the Safeguarding Children’s and Safeguarding Adults boards, she will ensure the two boards and partner agencies across the City work closely together on safeguarding issues that affect children and adults, and that lessons from good practice and Serious Case Reviews are both shared and learned.

Managing Director of the City of Wolverhampton Council Keith Ireland said: "Linda Sanders has a highly respected national profile and is a leading light in her field, and we are delighted to be able to retain her extensive skills and experience in the City.

"She has made a significant contribution to raising standards of support for vulnerable children, young people and adults and was instrumental in helping to secure the recent Good Ofsted rating for Children's Services in the City of Wolverhampton, making it one of the highest performing services in the country.

"Most importantly, Linda brought a significant degree of scrutiny to her role at the City of Wolverhampton Council, driving through improvements and challenging performance as and when required.

"Linda is also a champion of partnership working and helped to establish the first combined children's and adults Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in the West Midlands, which has brought together safeguarding professionals from a wide range of partners. She has also served as Chair of the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership for the last two-and-a-half years.

"She will bring all of these skills and more to her new role and help ensure the protection that agencies are able to give to some of the most vulnerable people in our City is as high as it possibly can be."

Linda said: "I am delighted to be taking on this hugely important role. Throughout my 40-year career I have remained passionate about improving outcomes for vulnerable people and have developed an in-depth understanding of services for adults, children and young people which will undoubtedly help me to work across the system in this important role.

"I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with partners from across the City of Wolverhampton to ensure that best practice is followed at all times, that recommendations from serious case reviews are implemented in a timely fashion, and to continue to challenge performance and hold agencies to account wherever and whenever necessary so that we continue to work in the best interests of vulnerable residents.”

Linda succeeds Alan Coe, who is retiring from the role after six years. Alan was appointed independent chair of the Safeguarding Adults Board in 2011 and independent chair of the Safeguarding Children's Board in 2013.

Keith said: "I would like to pay tribute to Alan for his excellent work as chair of both Safeguarding Boards, during which time a number of improvements have been made to the way agencies work together to safeguard vulnerable people. I wish him well in his retirement."

For more information about the work of the City of Wolverhampton's Safeguarding Boards, please visit

A national jewellers is helping to make one clueless boyfriend’s dream proposal a reality with an ‘Engage-mentor’ and £3,000 to help him pop the question in style.

Beaverbrooks is offering a helping hand to Birmingham’s most hapless romantic, after finding that four in ten women were secretly disappointed with how their partner asked for their hand in marriage.

The family-owned jewellers surveyed 1,000 women and revealed that almost half felt their partner had missed the mark by not considering the little things that really make a proposal special.

To help inspire some local romance, Beaverbrooks is offering Birmingham’s most clueless proposers the chance to bag themselves an official ‘engage-mentor’, who will help them plan their proposal to the finest detail – from the dream location to the perfect diamond ring.

Lorna Haddon, diamond ring and jewellery buyer at Beaverbrooks, said: “A marriage proposal can be a daunting experience for a lot of men, so it's no surprise to see how many women felt their partner’s efforts didn’t quite hit the mark.

“When planning the perfect proposal, it’s important to consider the little things that will make it personal for you. Whether it’s cooking their favourite meal or planning a romantic visit to the place you first met – it’s about knowing exactly what your partner would want and the little details that make it extra-special.”

“With the help of our resident ‘engage-mentor’ we hope to give one lucky boyfriend the opportunity to plan a proposal their partner will remember for all the right reasons.

“We can’t wait to hear what proposers in Birmingham have to offer!”

Any partners planning to pop the question this autumn who would benefit from an ‘engage-mentor’ and £3,000 towards the perfect proposal should visit before Sunday 10 September, explaining the little things that would make their day perfect.

As part of Severn Trent’s ongoing commitment to building the skills of the next generation of engineers and leaders, it has welcomed 61 young people into its award-winning apprenticeship programme.

The FTSE 100 Company, which serves 4.5 million customers across the Midlands and into north and mid-Wales, received more than 3,000 applications for its apprenticeship scheme, which offers successful applicants the opportunity to combine hands-on experience with studying, while earning a competitive salary.

Mark Smith, learning and development advisor from Severn Trent, said: “We’re really proud of our apprenticeship programme, and we’re really excited to be welcoming in more apprentices who are all ready to start their careers with Severn Trent.

“Whether you’re fresh out of school, or fancy a career change, our programmes are designed to deliver learning while also developing individuals, giving our apprentices hands-on experience in an industry that’s constantly evolving.”

Severn Trent has now doubled the number of options available to apprentices by offering eight different schemes, including new programmes such as finance, group commercial and project management, alongside the previous operational and engineering schemes.

Apprentices can spend up to three years learning and developing with the company, working in various placements across the region, where at the end of the scheme they’ll be guaranteed a role in their speciality.

“Supported by colleagues, we’re sure that our apprentices will quickly pick up the skills needed to make a real difference to our customers,” said Mark. “We offer such a vital service that it won’t take long for our apprentices to make a real impact in people’s lives as they develop their careers.”

Aaron Carter, a new Severn Trent apprentice from Coventry, said: “I chose Severn Trent after leaving a job, and rather than just going into another job I decided I wanted a career. After looking at different apprenticeship programmes, I felt like there is a future with Severn Trent which is a company that values its employees, and that’s why I came here.”

Evie Hammond, another new Severn Trent apprentice from Coleshill, said: “I decided to do an apprenticeship as I felt, being the practical learner that I am, I’d benefit much more from an apprenticeship rather than going to university. I did a lot of research into all kinds of apprenticeships and Severn Trent stood out for me in that they want you in their company, and they want to develop you and get the best out of the apprenticeship – I definitely see a future with Severn Trent.”


Almost half (45%) of pet owners in the West Midlands say they feel guilty for leaving their pets to go on holiday, according to a new study released by Co-op Insurance.

The research reveals that a third (34%) of pet owners spend their travels thinking about their pets whilst almost a fifth (18%) refuse to go on holiday without them.

Highlighting that the guilt sets in before pet owners even set off for their breaks, a third (32%) of pet owners say they treat their pets to make up for what’s about to happen.

Furthermore, the study reveals that pet owners living in the region are dependent on technology for keeping track of their pets whilst on holiday, with two fifths (45%) saying that this is the case.

In terms of the most common forms of technology used to keep in touch with their companions, one in ten (11%) and received text messages.

Video Footage, Skype and Instagram are also seen as popular choices for pet owners.

For a third (35%) of pet owners, returning from their holiday with a souvenir for their pet is a must. Three quarters (76%) opt for edible treats, two thirds (67%) purchase toys and one of six (17%) spoil their pets with new bedding.

Once back to normality, pet owners say that out of guilt for leaving their pets they continue to spoil them, over a quarter (27%) provide extra treats, one in four (26%) say they are even more affectionate, and one in seven (16%) buy their pets new toys.


Fear of crime is damaging the wellbeing of 203,000 teenagers in the West Midlands, with one in three teenage girls fearful of being followed by a stranger and one in four boys worried they’ll be assaulted, new research from The Children’s Society reveals.

The charity’s 2017 Good Childhood Report has found that an estimated 96,000 older children in the region are contending with at least seven serious problems in their lives, significantly harming their happiness. Fear of crime has emerged as the most widespread of the issues for children aged 10-17, with almost 2 in 5 worried about falling victim to two or more crimes.

One teenage girl interviewed by the charity said: “[They’re] blowing kisses, men beeping, standing asking [your] age, whistling, shouting stopping vans next to you, asking for [your] number.”

A 13 year old boy said: “You’ve got to fight to like kind of survive around this area. You have to stick up for yourself the whole time."

Closely following this fear were the worries of 194,000 teenagers in the West Midlands whose parents are struggling to pay the bills.

Its survey of 3,000 10-17 year olds revealed that more than half (53%) have experienced at least three hardships in the last five years, making them markedly unhappier. Teenagers who have experienced seven or more serious issues in their lives are ten times more likely to be unhappy than those who have experienced none.

The findings support The Children’s Society’s determination to focus more closely on helping children who are facing what it calls ‘multiple disadvantage’. Other disadvantages identified in the report include having a parent with a serious illness, suffering neglect and being at risk of homelessness.

The Children’s Society is calling for the government to urgently address the funding shortfall in children’s services – predicted to reach £2bn by 2020 – and for local government, police forces, schools and other local agencies to work together to improve the wellbeing of children in their area.

Gross domestic product figures (GDP) for the second quarter of 2017 are a further sign of the economy showing its resolve, Greater Birmingham business leaders said today.

GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.3 per cent between Q1 and Q2. Growth in Q2 was dominated by the service sector which grew by 0.5 per cent.

There was also relatively strong growth in government spending and investment, although household spending (0.1 per cent) and business investment (unchanged) during the same period were “sluggish”.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said: “It was reassuring to see a pick-up in GDP growth levels for Quarter 2 as once again the British economy demonstrated its resoluteness in the face of wider political uncertainty.

“It was also heartening to see an increase in service sector output which made up for the slower level of growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

“Nevertheless it remains to be seen how long service sector growth can be sustained given the relative slowdown in consumer spending caused by higher inflation levels and weak wage growth.

“Business Investment was also revealed to be sluggish this quarter, a theme we saw reflected in our Q2 Quarterly Business Report, as local firms reported stagnant investment levels in light of Brexit uncertainty.

“Surveying for our current Quarterly Business Report is now open and it will be interesting to see if these are trends are still prominent in the latest findings.”

John Taylor Hospice has joined forces with local solicitors to offer people a discounted will writing service during September.

And every person who makes a will during the month-long promotion will also know they are helping the hospice care for local families.

From 1-30 September solicitors who are supporting the scheme are offering people the opportunity to make a single will for £60 and a double will for £110, with half the fee being donated to John Taylor Hospice.

“Making a will is the only way to ensure your wishes are followed after you are gone,” said hospice Patient and Family Support Worker Angie Donovan. “Knowing your will is made gives you peace of mind that everything will happen according to your wishes after your death.

“You may not consider yourself to be wealthy but, when you add everything up, you may find that you have more than you realise and it’s important that you are the one deciding who your beneficiaries will be. Writing a will means you can choose the family, friends and charities you’d like to remember in your will.”

Legacies form an important part of John Taylor’s fundraising with more than one quarter of the money donated to John Taylor Hospice this year received from people who have made a gift in their will.

This money is vital in ensuring John Taylor’s teams can be there for people when they are needed most. Founded in 1910, the hospice has been caring for local people for four generations. For the people who leave us a gift in their will, their legacy is helping make every moment matter for generations to come.

Carol Bernard has been receiving support from John Taylor Hospice since early 2016. She said: “I’d do anything to help John Taylor Hospice. I love going there so much, I only miss my time at the day hospice if it’s an emergency! The staff are amazing and they brighten your day if you’re feeling low. I’ve made incredible friends and I really would be lost without the support of the hospice staff, volunteers and fellow patients.”

And Carol, aged 71 of Newtown, Birmingham, added: “I’ve made my will as I didn’t want my son to have to worry about anything. By making a will, nothing is left to chance and it takes pressure away from your loved ones who are safe in the knowledge that your wishes are being fulfilled.”

Solicitors participating in John Taylor’s Wills Month include Baches, Sutton and Co and Robert Shaw and Co - for the full list see the website.

“We’re really grateful for the support of our friends at Sutton and Co, Baches and Robert Shaw and Co again this year,” said hospice Head of Fundraising Katie Mitchell. “By helping people to make a will, we’re offering the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes are followed after your death.

“The money we receive from gifts in wills is so important to John Taylor Hospice and we’re hoping that, if the time is right for them, people will consider leaving a gift in their will to the hospice.”

Sandwell Council’s taxi licensing team is carrying out spot check operations to make sure vehicles, drivers and passengers are safe.

The latest operation by Sandwell Council’s taxi licensing enforcement team, West Midlands Police, the DVSA and MOT testers stopped 22 vehicles – 18 from Sandwell and four licensed by City of Wolverhampton Council.

Of the Sandwell vehicles stopped, 14 passed the checks with flying colours. Four needed lightbulbs replacing, two were found to have brake pads that would soon need replacing and one vehicle had tyre and lighting issues as well as an insecure battery.

The tyre, bulb and battery issues were fixed during the checks.

One other Sandwell driver was issued with a delayed prohibition to get an excessively worn universal joint fixed – which will need repairing and a fresh MOT for the vehicle.

Of the Wolverhampton vehicles stopped, all four were found to have issues.

One driver was warned that their brake pads were worn and two front tyres were close to the legal limit, another driver was issued with a notice to fix an excessively worn universal joint and an Uber driver was found to have defective lights and seriously underinflated tyres. The bulbs were replaced on site.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said: “These operations are really important to make sure vehicles are safe to be on the road. Our taxi licensing team carry out these spot checks every couple of months.

“Many of the issues the vehicles need are easily fixed – such as bulbs -  and are done there and then to get the cars back on the road.

“Our colleagues in Wolverhampton have been informed about the issues raised on their vehicles.”

Accessing My Account got even easier for one lucky Haringey resident who scooped an Apple iPad 4 in celebration of being the 54,000th person to sign up to the online service. Jennifer Asenso receiving her iPad from Cllr Jospeh Ejiofor

Jennifer Asenso, from Tottenham, clicked her way to success by registering her details online to access a range of council services – from updating council tax details to searching the borough’s extensive libraries catalogue – through My Account. Her registration made her the automatic winner of a competition to celebrate reaching 54,000 registrations.

The milestone represents half of Haringey’s households signing up for My Account, which enables people to securely access their council tax and housing benefit accounts, report environmental issues such as fly-tipping and potholes, search and reserve from the council’s library catalogue and complete online forms for a variety of queries.

Jennifer said: "My Account makes everything easier. I was surprised I was the 54,000th person – I was like, wow!”

Delighted with her prize, Jennifer pledged to use her new iPad to regularly access My Account. Cabinet member for Customer Services, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said: I was delighted to present Ms Asenso with her prize. This is a significant milestone for the council as we continue our commitment to modernise services and make it easier and quicker for residents to access the services and information they need. With council budgets facing significant reductions, My Account is also a really cost-effective way for residents to access council information, saving local taxpayers money that could be better spent on providing the services that local people rely on.”

Cats Protection has outlined a series of steps which can be taken to help keep felines safe throughout the year.

Although cats often enjoy exploring, their curiosity can lead them into trouble. A few simple measures can help keep cats away from danger and enjoying life.

Keep cats inside during hours of darkness. Cats are at increased risk of road injuries and theft after nightfall. Keeping cats indoors overnight and timing meals to coincide with rush hour will help keep cats away from busy roads.

Ensure cats are neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Making sure cats are neutered provides a host of benefits in addition to preventing unwanted kittens being born. Neutered cats are less likely to roam, lowering the risk of car accidents and less likely to fight and contract serious diseases which are spread by saliva. Microchipping offers a safe and permanent method of identification, while ensuring cats are vaccinated will protect against parasites and diseases.

Encourage cats to stay close to home. If cats are content, they are more likely to stay within their own home and garden. Planting cat-friendly plants such as catnip and lavender, providing logs for scratching and long grass for relaxing or to assist with expelling hairballs can all add to the creation of a cat-friendly space.  Poisonous substances often found in the home or garden, such as antifreeze, disinfectants, insect and pest killers should be kept securely.

Certain plants can be toxic to cats, for example lilies can be lethal if any part of the plant is ingested. If your cat does show any signs of poisoning, you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.  A full list of plants that are hazardous to cats can be found on International Cat Care’s website

Remain vigilant to possible acts of cruelty. If you suspect somebody is acting suspiciously towards cats in the area, report your concerns to the local police and/or RSPCA, along with any descriptions and car number plates you may have noted. If there is a local Neighbourhood Watch, make them aware and inform your neighbours that there may be suspicious activity taking place.

Mark Beazley, Director of Operations for Cats Protection, says: “We often have reports coming into our branches and centres across the country of cats that have strayed, become injured in fights or been poisoned by seemingly harmless substances around the home. Simply following these guidelines and remaining vigilant can help keep cats safe and enjoying themselves throughout the year.”

Back in 2008, Victoria Ganderton was 36 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with an aortic dissection. The aorta is one of the body’s major blood vessels and so when doctors diagnosed heavily-pregnant Victoria as having an aortic dissection the doctors had to act quickly. Of all people who have aortic dissections, 50% die before making it to hospital and of those who do make it to hospital, 50% will not recover.

Amazingly, Victoria had been walking around for ten days before she was correctly diagnosed. After the diagnosis she was immediately taken off for an emergency caesarean. Victoria said: “I got to spend ten minutes with my son Jack and husband Leigh before having open heart surgery under the care of the amazing, late Professor Bonser at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.”

The operation was a success and after a long period of recuperation, Victoria was able to return home to her family. Victoria had follow-up surgery in 2013 and final open heart surgery in 2014. During the course of this operation, Victoria’s kidneys failed, her lungs went into respiratory shock, she contracted pneumonia and her heart began to fail.

Victoria’s life was saved thanks to the ECMO machine at QEHB, one of the few hospitals in the UK to have one, which performs the role of the heart and lungs in order to keep the patient alive. Victoria spent a month in a coma and a total of 56 nights in intensive care. This long period of recuperation was made far easier by the staff at the hospital, Victoria said: “There is nowhere in the world where such care and compassion is shown by all staff, from surgeons to nurses to porters and cleaners. They never failed to greet me with a smile and bring a little light to my days.”

Nearly three years on, Victoria’s husband Leigh is taking on the 100-mile Velo Birmingham cycling challenge, the first closed-road cycling race in the area, this September.

Leigh will be cycling for QEHB Charity alongside England cricketing legend Ashley Giles. Both men have been inspired to take part in Velo Birmingham after the treatment that their wives have received at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Ashley Giles and his wife Stine set up The Giles’ Trust, part of QEHB Charity, after Stine was successfully treated for brain tumours at QEHB on two separate occasions. Stine said: “It is wonderful to see that other people have been motivated to take part in fundraising events after their loved ones have been treated here at QEHB. I wish Leigh all the best for his training and I look forward to seeing him cycling alongside Ashley on the day itself.”

Leigh is busy preparing for the challenge and said: “I’m really looking forward to cycling for QEHB Charity and raising money to support the amazing research and work that goes on at the hospital. The care that they gave Victoria was nothing short of incredible and it’s really nice to give something back.”

Regional law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, which has offices in Wolverhampton, Willenhall, and Shropshire, is the official legal partner of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, where Ashley is Sports Director, and is supporting the cycling event.

Adam Wilson, an Associate in the Serious Injury and Clinical Negligence Team at FBCMB said: “Leigh is a close friend of mine and knowing about his wife’s treatment and the firm’s links with the cricket club, we wanted to sponsor the challenge.

“The treatment that QEHB provides to people in our region and beyond is nothing short of amazing so we’re delighted to support the fundraising effort for the hospital.”

Cathryn Worth, fundraising manager for QEHB Charity said: “Velo Birmingham promises to be a brilliant day and it will be great to know that Leigh and Ashley are there cycling with the other QEHB Charity cyclists. They’ve both got amazing stories to tell and I know that they’re making their wives very proud. Our thanks also go to FBC Manby Bowdler for their support.”

Staff and volunteers at Haden Hill House Museum in Cradley Heath are preparing for their annual popular live music in the park event to round off a fabulous summer of activities.

Proms in the Park is free and is on Sunday 10 September at the popular attraction off Barrs Road.

"We want visitors to bring picnics, picnic chairs and blankets and sit for the afternoon enjoying live bands and singers, said Councillor Richard Marshall, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for leisure.

The event kicks off at 2pm with Martinique Jazz, followed by easy listening songs with lots of familiar tunes. The afternoon finishes around 6pm with the rousing sound of Halesowen Brass Band and lots of flag waving.

The Friends of Haden Hill Estate are providing great cakes, drinks and snacks in the tearoom and Haden Old Hall will also be open for visitors to look around.

The event co-insides with national Heritage Open Days, which aim to celebrate and showcase England’s heritage across the country.

The event is absolutely free and for more information visit

Energy providers are being urged to do more to promote green energy after a survey revealed just 2 per cent of Birmingham residents are on a green tariff.

Despite years of education and falling costs for green energy options consumers still say renewable energy isn’t a priority.

The poll, conducted amongst energy bill payers and commissioned by ENGIE, revealed:

  • A quarter of people in Birmingham say they have done nothing to be environmentally friendly in the last year.
  • 1 in 5 (20 per cent) don’t understand enough about the benefits a green tariff would have for the environment.
  • Almost half (45 per cent) of consumers in the city say saving money is a priority for them and assume a green tariff will cost more.
Yet increasingly green tariffs are affordable. ENGIE, the largest new entrant to the UK home energy market for 15 years, has led the way by offering 100 per cent renewable electricity on all of its tariffs at no additional cost. Plus, customers can also receive 100 per cent green gas guaranteed at minimal extra cost – one of the few plans of its kind on the market. Recent research by uSwitch has also revealed that green tariffs are becoming increasingly affordable.

Renewable energy tariffs are backed by 100 per cent green electricity – meaning that, for every unit of electricity used, the same amount is produced and put back into the grid from a renewable source.

Paul Rawson, CEO of ENGIE’s home energy business, says: “With so few people in Birmingham choosing green energy tariffs, it is the responsibility of energy providers and the wider industry to offer solutions which appeal to and persuade consumers.

“We don’t believe customers should have to make a choice between saving money and choosing a green option and we are optimistic that increasingly they won’t have to.”

There was some good news in the poll results, which also revealed:

  • 14 per cent of people surveyed said environmentally friendly tariffs influence their choice of energy provider, the highest in the UK.
  • Half of people in Birmingham said they would be prepared to pay more for a green energy tariff (even though the evidence suggests they won’t).
In other positive news, June saw the UK experience a new renewable energy record with a remarkable 70 per cent of its electricity coming from low-carbon sources at one stage.

Paul Rawson adds: “By working collectively we can take a more sustainable approach to energy consumption to the benefit of ourselves and future generations.”