Colors: Blue Color

The Bank of England in partnership with Windsor Fellowship is recruiting for the African/African-Caribbean Scholarship Programme. The Programme is for students from a Black or Mixed African/ Caribbean background who are currently living or studying in Greater London, Manchester, Birmingham and surrounding areas and planning to start a full-time undergraduate degree in autumn 2018.

The African/African-Caribbean Scholarship Programme will offer successful applicants: · Up to £30,000 to be used to support living costs during an undergraduate degree · Paid Internships at the Bank of England in the summer holidays between 1st and 2nd years and 2nd and 3rd years · Mentoring, Coaching and Support from a member of the Bank of England team.

Eligibility and Application Criteria

· The Programme is open to students who have no restrictions and are eligible to work and study in the UK · Expected to secure at least 104, (Pre 2017, 260 UCAS points) UCAS points and have 5 A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including Mathematics and English · Have a household income below £50,000 · Have no restrictions on living/working in the UK

To find out more about the Bank of England and their Early Careers Programmes visit www.Bankofenglandearlycareers.co.uk/our-programmes

Further information about the Programme is available on the Windsor Fellowship website www.windsor-fellowship.org together with the link to the on-line application form.

The deadline for receipt of applications is midday GMT on the 22nd January 2018.

Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice is aiming to reach more local families as it launches The Way Ahead, its new Three Year Strategic Plan.

The hospice, which has been at the heart of the city for more than 100 years, will achieve its aim by extending the hours of its Hospice at Home service which cares for people at end of life in their own homes, updating its day service and introducing new clinics.

An expert in providing care to people with a range of conditions including motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, John Taylor will also expand its non-cancer provision, ensuring more people with terminal illnesses can receive help when, how and where they need it.

Hospice CEO Penny Venables said: “We are really proud of our three year strategy which will help us achieve our mission of a compassionate and dignified death for all.

“We know that John Taylor Hospice can make all the difference as people approach end of life and we are determined to ensure that care is available for more and more people in the future.”

The strategy document, which is available to view or download on the hospice website,also sets out the hospice’s plans to increase income by opening shops and supporting fundraisers in organising events.

“Like most hospices, we receive funding from the NHS but we also need the financial support of people and businesses to ensure we can provide the care we know local families need,” said Penny.

And John Taylor, which was a pathfinder for the national Hospice UK Open Up Hospice Care campaign last year, is also committed to changing society’s perceptions around death and dying.

“The more society talks about death and dying, the more people will demand specialist care which meets their needs,” added Penny. “As a hospice, we have an essential part to play locally and nationally in ensuring end of life care remains a critical part of healthcare funding. We’re also building partnerships with other health providers including hospices to meet local need.”

John Taylor Hospice was founded in 1910 and became part of the NHS in 1948, becoming independent in 2011. It provides care for local families at its hospice in Erdington and in the local community.

Services include its In-Patient Unit, Living Well Centre which provides day services, Well-Being Service and Community Teams including Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists and Patient and Family Support Worker.

Penny added: “Our mission is to provide specialist care for people living with a terminal illness and their families and we need to respond to an every changing health environment. The Way Ahead - Our Three Year Strategic Plan provides us with the tools to do that. It is an exciting time for us and we look forward to the changes we will be making to bring our specialist care to more local families.”

A University of Wolverhampton art graduate was short listed in this year’s Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year competition.

Lindsay Pritchard, 46, from Wolverhampton graduated with an Honours and Master’s Degree in Illustration in the Visual Communications department of the Wolverhampton School of Art.

Having worked in the financial sector for 20 years, she left banking in 2007 to pursue her interest in art and now works in the creative industries running workshops, exhibiting her work and taking commissions.

Lindsay entered the national competition and recently appeared as one of eight shortlisted artists on Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 filmed at Knaresborough Castle in Yorkshire.

She said:  “My work is mainly focused on the urban environment with a particular interest in dereliction and decay so I spend quite a lot of my time in derelict factories and junk yards.

“It was an amazing adventure being short listed for such a prestigious competition.  All the artists had to set up and complete a landscape painting in one day whilst being filmed so the pressure was really on.  Then we had to wait for our work to be judged. Whilst I didn’t make it through to the next stage of the competition, the experience was incredible.

“Studying Illustration at the University really opened up a whole new world for me and helped me to harness my true potential as an artist.”

Lindsay is an active member of the Black Country Urban Sketchers whose aim is to encourage people to sketch in their local environment. She is also a member of the Wolverhampton Society of Artists exhibiting in their exhibitions and attending their regular meets.

One in ten UK adults said they were considering buying or giving a home to a dog or cat before the end of the year, according to new research from Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, with an even split between those intending to get a cat or  a dog.

Throughout the festive season 5% of UK adults said they were considering buying a puppy or a kitten while 3% planned to give a home to a rescue dog or cat.

Sainsbury’s Bank says those who have a new puppy or kitten should get their pet insured from a young age as they can be particularly vulnerable to parasites and prone to accidents as they explore their new home.

Analysis of Sainsbury’s Bank’s claims data shows that from 2013 to 2017 there were 24% more claims for pets aged under two than those aged between two and three.

Further analysis of the claims data shows that the ailments that younger pets (aged 0-1) suffer more frequently than older pets (aged 2-3) are: leg/hip/shoulder disorders (56% more common), skin disorders (41% more common) and accidents and injuries (38% more common).

West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Deputy Chief Executive, Diane Scott, has been named in this year’s New Year’s Honours List as one of only two England- based recipients of the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal (QAM).

The QAM ensures that the dedication of ambulance staff has the same level of Royal recognition as other members of the emergency services.

Diane is an Executive Director of the Trust Board and is responsible for the Corporate and Clinical Directorates. She is also a Health and Care Professions Council registered paramedic.

Speaking about her award, Diane, who’s career spans more than 30 years having started with Hampshire Ambulance Service in 1985, said: “I am immensely proud and honoured to receive this award. It is a great privilege and the QAM represents the pinnacle of my ambulance career.

“I have been proud to work for, and with, many good people at all levels throughout the ambulance service and the NHS, including many skilled and compassionate colleagues who provide excellent care on a daily basis to patients and the public.

“Whilst I have been fortunate to receive the award, it would not have happened without the hard work and support of my colleagues from within the ambulance service to whom I am extremely grateful.”

 

Penn Library will be temporarily unavailable to customers from next month to enable improvement work to take place.

The £60,000-plus investment will see the library redecorated and its back-office space reconfigured to create a new community lounge and meeting room. The layout of the library will also be reviewed to make better use of the space.

Due to the extensive nature of the work, it will be necessary to temporarily close the library from 4pm on Saturday 6 January until 9am on Tuesday 6 March 2018. The car park will also be closed during this time.

Customers are reminded that, during the closure, they can continue to use any other library in the City – the nearest are Warstones Library on Pinfold Grove, Blakenhall Library at the Bob Jones Community Hub on Bromley Street and the main Central Library on Snow Hill – and can renew any items they have borrowed by visiting www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/libraries or calling the 24-hour renewals line, 01902 552500.

Customers are also invited to sign up to the new BorrowBox service and choose from a selection of hundreds of eBooks and eAudiobooks to download to their mobile device for free – for more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/libraries.

Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "While in other parts of the country libraries are closing, here in the City of Wolverhampton we are continuing to invest in these important community assets.

“We are always seeking ways to improve our libraries and make them modern, vibrant and sustainable, and are carrying out this work at Penn Library as part of our 10-year transformation strategy for Wolverhampton’s libraries.

“The work will make Penn Library more community-orientated and increase the number of people who are able to make use of this vital facility. We will also be taking the opportunity to replace old shelving and review the layout of the library so that we can maximise the use of space.

“I would like to thank customers for bearing with us while this essential work is completed."

  1. Research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has found that more than half of people surveyed have given away an unwanted Christmas present, either to a charity or to someone else.

    In addition, more than three-quarters of people (78%) feel that Christmas in the UK has become too materialistic, and that 44% of people agreed that they had “too much stuff”. In addition, 58% of people had given an unwanted Christmas present either to a charity or to someone else.

    Among the festive gifts people said they had donated to charity or given away were:

    · A Scottie dog cookie container · A slow cooker · Slippers that you heat up in the microwave · Cleaning cloths · A globe · An ironing board · An indoor fountain · Candle wick scissors · A 12 inch plush animatronic Spider-Man that sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider · A book about dogs for someone without a dog

    About half those surveyed (51%) said giving to charities made them feel happy.

    Sir John Low, chief executive of CAF, said:

    “Everyone loves getting presents at Christmas but it’s also a time when we think about making a new start in the new year. As we count the pile of presents that we’ve enjoyed receiving from family and friends, we can also think of ways to help those less fortunate.

    “Donating items to charity that we’ll never use is a great way of raising much-needed funds for a good cause.”

Winter warmth packs were handed out this week to older and vulnerable people in Oldbury and Smethwick to help them through the cold weather.

The special packs contain thermal blankets, hats, gloves, hot water bottle and mugs to help them through the winter months. They also include thermal scarves and socks and dried soup.

Council officers, councillors and partner organisations have been delivering the winter warmth packs to residents in Smethwick and Oldbury as part of a scheme initiated by local councillors in the two towns.

The 800 packs are targeted to those most in need. All packs have now been sent out for delivery.

Councillor Syeda Khatun, Sandwell Council deputy leader and cabinet member for neighbourhoods and communities, said: "This is a scheme to support older and vulnerable people, helping them to stay warm in the winter months."

Qatar Airways is celebrating a successful year of tremendous growth, network expansion and a record-breaking number of award wins at the end of this, its 20th year of operations.

Despite a challenging regional environment, the airline continued to deliver beyond expectations throughout 2017, accelerating new routes, doubling frequencies and capacity to numerous destinations and launching its award-winning new Business Class seat, Qsuite. At a time when many airlines are scaling back, Qatar Airways continued to thrive, showcasing to the world its award-winning, best-in-class cabins, catering, in-flight entertainment, on-board magazine, lounges and more.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “This year, our twentieth anniversary as an airline, is particularly special for us. As we reflect on our achievements, we reaffirm our commitment to providing excellence in the skies, ensuring that our passenger’s holiday or leisure trip starts the moment they step onto one of our aircraft. We remain committed to expanding our global network, and to taking our passengers anywhere in the world they wish to go.”

“After twenty years of service, we vow to never rest on our achievements, but rather to focus on how we can continue to innovate, and to deliver an exceptional five-star experience to every one of our passengers, no matter what class they travel. Against the backdrop of the illegal blockade against the State of Qatar, we are more committed than ever to welcoming everyone onboard and taking them wherever they need to go.”

Route Expansion

One of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, Qatar Airways launched 11 exciting new destinations in 2017, including Auckland, New Zealand – the world’s longest commercial flight - Nice; France; Dublin, Republic of Ireland; Skopje; Sohar, Oman; Kyiv, Ukraine; Prague, Czech Republic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Adana, Turkey; Chiang Mai, Thailand and St. Petersburg, Russia.

In addition to launching flights to beautiful Chiang Mai, its fourth destination in Thailand, the airline also introduced a fifth daily non-stop service to Bangkok as well as a daily service to Krabi, offering both business and leisure travellers even more convenience and flexibility when travelling to and from the Land of Smiles. In January 2018, it will commence service to Pattaya, the airline’s fifth Thai destination.

Qatar Airways will also add a new direct daily service to Hanoi, withHo Chi Minh City’s daily service increasing by three flights a week to 10 starting 1 January 2018.

The airline introduced its superjumbo A380 aircraft to Melbourne and will soon introduce it on its Perth route, enhancing capacity to Australia ahead of the airline’s launch of service to Canberra in 2018. Qatar Airways also proudly became the first airline ever to fly the state-of-the-art Airbus A350 to the Maldives twice daily.

Qatar Airways also doubled its frequencies to a number of destinations in Eastern Europe, the Nordics and Russia, following a significant increase in passenger demand to the popular destinations of Warsaw, Helsinki, and Moscow, with increases to Prague and Kyiv following just shortly after the launch of the routes themselves.

Qsuite

Qatar Airways proudly launched its new Business Class seat, Qsuite, at ITB Berlin in March 2017 to outstanding global acclaim, bringing a First Class experience to the Business Class cabin. The first aircraft fully-fitted with Qsuite was launched on the Doha-London route during the summer, and was soon followed by Paris and most recently New York, with Washington soon to follow. Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, is already fast collecting awards for offering the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.

Award Wins

Qatar Airways enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2017, with the airline claiming more global awards than ever before in its 20th year of operations. Qatar’s national carrier received more than 50 individual awards across multiple categories since January, demonstrating its continued commitment to exceeding passenger expectations with its innovative approach to product development and dedication to customer experience.

Leading the host of awards received by the airline this year is the prestigious accolade of 2017 ‘Airline of the Year,’ awarded by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class,’ ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’ at the Skytrax awards ceremony held in Paris in June.

Notably, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, received the ‘Aviation Executive of the Year’ award from industry body CAPA last month, highlighting his leadership and innovative direction in guiding the growth of the airline and the wider aviation industry as a whole.

H.E. Mr. Al Baker was also elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of prestigious global aviation industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA), effective June 2018. The rotating one-year term will commence at the end of IATA’s 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Sydney and will continue until the end of its 2019 AGM.

Fleet Expansion/Acquisitions

Qatar Airways took delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2017, taking its total fleet to 212 aircraft. The airline also recently upsized an earlier order for 50 Airbus A320neo with a firm order instead for 50 of the larger A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration), in an order signed earlier this month in the presence of the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and French President Mr. Emmanuel Macron.

Qatar Airways continued to forge strong partnerships around the world and proved its commitment to creating lasting relationships with global partners. In November, it announced an acquisition in fellow oneworld member Cathay Pacific, purchasing approximately 9.61 per cent of Cathay Pacific’s total issued share capital.

The airline further strengthened its commitment to Italy with the acquisition of 49 per cent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Meridiana fly (Meridiana), while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda has kept 51 per cent.

In June Qatar Airways released its annual results for the 2017 fiscal year, revealing an impressive 21.7 per cent year-on-year net profit increase. The results also showed an annual revenue increase of 10.4 per cent.

Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of two new Boeing 747-800 freighters and its thirteenth Boeing 777 freighter this year, continuing its trajectory of rapid growth and expansion. In October, Qatar Airways Cargo announced Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as its latest freighter destination in the United States, making it the first international airline to commence freighter service to Pittsburgh. The cargo carrier also added Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito, Miami, Phnom Penh and Yangon to its dedicated freighter network in 2017, strengthening its commitment to supporting the global air trade and supply chain industry.

Qatar Airways Cargo’s continuous investment in ground infrastructure has proven its capability and capacity to accommodate increased demand since the diplomatic blockade on the State of Qatar began in June. The cargo carrier opened two new facilities during the summer, its dedicated Climate Control Centre and Cargo Overflow structure, providing close to an additional 10,000 sqm of temperature-controlled handling space to manage an increase in food imports into Qatar.

Qatar Airways Cargo recorded high volumes, revenues, yields and market shares in 2017, and was the only international cargo carrier with significant growth in freight tonnes kilometres (FTK) this year.

Community/Sponsorships

Corporate Social Responsibility remained an important part of Qatar Airways’ values in 2017. The airline renewed its sponsorship as Official Airline Partner to Orbis UK for a further three years. The airline has been a proud sponsor of Orbis and its blindness prevention programmes since 2012. Qatar Airways also continued to be a proud supporter of the Educate-A-Child programme, which helps provide quality primary school education to millions of out-of-school children globally.

Qatar Airways was also announced as an Official Partner and Official Airline of FIFA, as part of a groundbreaking sponsorship package lasting through 2022. Upcoming events sponsored by Qatar Airways will include the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. As an Official Partner of FIFA, Qatar Airways will have extensive marketing and branding rights at the next two FIFA World Cups, with an expected audience reach of more than two billion people per tournament. The airline will also have visibility at competitions such as the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the FIFA Futsal World Cup and the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the world’s largest online gaming tournament.

Qatar Airways also responded to demand from passengers seeking to transport their pets around the world by reducing the price to the lowest rates ever into and out of Doha. As the only airline that will carry pets as excess baggage to and from Qatar, the airline significantly reduced the cost of travelling with a pet.

The Future

Qatar Airways looks ahead with excitement to 2018, when it will launch a host of exciting new destinations, including Penang, Malaysia; Canberra, Australia; Thessaloniki, Greece and Cardiff, Wales, the airline’s fifth UK gateway, to name just a few. The airline will also be the global launch customer and launch operator of the Airbus A350-1000 in 2018.

The highest standards of excellence, perseverance and a commitment to innovation are the values that have led Qatar Airways to be named the World’s Best Airline in 2017, and which it will carry with it into 2018.

Nearly £600 was raised for the Mayor of Sandwell's charities at the West Bromwich Community Awards night.

And today the Mayor Councillor Ahmadul Haque MBE received the cheque for £592.70 from West Bromwich town lead Councillor Steve Melia.

The money was raised through an auction and donations during the awards ceremony at West Bromwich Town Hall earlier this month (December).

The Mayor is raising money this year for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and Your Trust Charity, run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, specifically raising money for cancer services and research.

Councillor Haque said: "I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in West Bromwich who gave donations or took part in the auction at the awards evening to help raise money for these two very important charities."

The generosity of a City of Wolverhampton-born businessman has made Wolverhampton Central Library the permanent home for one of the Wolves in Wolves pack.

Alan Degg, owner of Hilton Main Construction, successfully bid £1,000 for Meditation at last month’s auction of the wolves from the largest public art event ever to take place in the city.

Meditation, designed by local artist Nigel James Kilworth, was on show at Central Library during the summer’s popular trail of 40 colourful wolves sculptures across Wolverhampton.

Alan, aged 51, has now decided to donate it to the library, where it will take pride of place on the ground floor.

He said: “I wanted to give something back to the city. I love Wolverhampton and its people and it felt right to bring Meditation back home to the library.”

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: “We are thrilled that not only has Alan helped the project raise money for its chosen charities but he has donated the wolf to the city’s Central Library for all to enjoy.

“The wolves really captured people’s imaginations this summer showcasing the city to visitors and helping to put the city on the map as a cultural centre, the whole project has been a howling success.”

The auction raised £35,440 for local arts charity Outside Centre and the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Elias Mattu's chosen charities.

Rare baby penguins at the National Sea Life Centre have been enjoying their very first Christmas experience with a visit from Santa, who delivered them some squeaky festive toys as part of their enrichment.

‘Gentoo penguins are naturally very curious creatures, so we try and encourage this behaviour by introducing fun new toys for them to play with into their environment,’ Penguin Keeper Hayley Roberts commented. ‘It helps to nurture their natural inquisitive behaviour.’

‘Santa was of course delighted to pay them a visit; their cold climate meant he felt right at home. For the babies it’s the first time they’ve encountered Santa - they are very excited as they’ve been good all year!’

Nicknamed Hulk and Dumpling for their respective sizes at birth, the two chicks are now over 6 months old. The rare penguin pair were the first to hatch at the aquarium as part of a global breeding programme after Gentoo penguin numbers declined rapidly. Their parents crossed continents to conceive, coming all the way to Birmingham from as far as Canada and New Zealand.

For further information about the National Sea Life Centre’s ‘Breed, Rescue, Protect’ conservation programme or to book tickets to see the penguins over the festive season, visit: www.sealife.co.uk/birmingham

2017 has been another year full of surprises, political changes and conflicting headlines. As the year draws to a close, Romans’ Directors have reflected on the big changes in 2017 and what they predict will have the biggest impact on the property market in 2018…

Antony Gibson, Managing Director of Sales at Romans says: “Over the past two years, there is no denying that transaction levels and price growth have steadied as buyers and sellers took a wait and see approach following Brexit, the US election, the UK election.

Buyers now have more information at their fingertips than ever before and affordability has been limited due to stricter mortgage lending criteria, the prospect of increasing interest rates and inflation growing faster than wages. Sellers, whilst able to set asking prices, will better recognise that buyers and their limited affordability will be a big factor in determining the final property sale price.

However, the balance is that there remains to be a strong demand for property and supply fails to meet needs – so, when applying simple rules of economics, the lack of supply is likely to keep the market moving in a broadly upward direction.

The government’s announcement that first time buyers will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty, is not only great news for first time buyers, but also the housing market in general. More activity at the lower end of the housing market is a benefit to everyone as the increased confidence will filter up. Those looking to take their second step up the property ladder will now benefit from more prospective buyers and new homes developments are also likely to see more interest.

Our prediction for this year is that the market will remain steady, confidence in it will increase and many of those who had put moving on hold in 2017 will choose to move in 2018 recognising that putting their lives and moves on hold benefits no one."

Michael Cook, Managing Director of Lettings adds his predictions for the next 12 months, “The rental market remained stable in 2017, there was a strong demand from tenants throughout the year and, in August we set a new record for the number of tenants moving in! Although in some market places average rents remained flat, many of our locations demonstrated a growth of between 1-2.5%.

With a healthy demand from tenants and, slightly reduced capital values in some locations, it’s unsurprising that 1 in 4 of all new buyers who registered with Romans were looking to purchase a buy-to-let property. Despite the high number of registrations, only 1 in 8 properties were sold to investors. This uncertainty is most likely a result of the changes made by the government to tax relief for landlords as well as the increase in Stamp Duty and of course, the impending Brexit deal.

Whilst the political landscape is unclear and will no doubt cause some investors to pause and think before committing to a purchase, we believe the rental market will provide consistent returns for landlords with no real signs of tenant demand abating. Although, returns may not be as buoyant as previous years, we predict increased rents of around 1-1.5%.

With rents slowly rising and the introduction of legislation to regulate the industry (something we’ve campaigned for as members of ARLA for some time), tenants will benefit from an improved financial position. Following in the government’s footsteps, we are looking closely at how we can positively impact the lettings market for landlords and tenants alike.

With the recent rise in interest rates, we asked our Mortgage Director, Greg May to predict what will happen in 2018 and explain the importance of reviewing your mortgage annually.

“Financial experts predict that there will be another rate rise on the cards for 2018 which is great news for savers and those who are currently sitting on a fixed rate mortgage. Whilst future rate rises aren’t likely to cause a financial crisis thanks to the stress testing lenders have placed on applicants to ensure repayments remain manageable if rates rose by between 5 and 7%, those sitting on standard variable rate mortgages may find they are overpaying unnecessarily.

I recommend reviewing your mortgage annually, just as you would your gas and electricity bills to ensure you are on the right product for your circumstances. With a future rate rise almost a certainty, this is now more important than ever.”

The rate of price increases has certainly slowed but by no means stalled. Slow, consistent growth is the signs of a healthy market and is not a reason to put moves on hold. The biggest challenges to the property market are government changes including the increase in interest rates and Stamp Duty, which limit buyer and tenant affordability. The slight fall of transaction levels in 2017, along with steadying prices does mean that mean that accurate pricing and understanding of demand in the local market will be key success drivers for both sellers and landlords in 2018.

A major milestone in Haringey’s ambitious plans for Tottenham was reached today with the signing of the development agreement for the High Road West scheme with leading developer, Lendlease.

The High Road West development, opposite Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, will deliver benefits for the borough including:

  • More than 2,500 high quality homes, with at least 750 affordable homes for local people
  • 191 high-quality council homes which will be managed by Homes for Haringey, meeting the aspirations of the Resident Charter agreed with local residents
  • A cutting edge new library and learning centres
  • A refurbished community hub with new facilities at the Grange
  • A new civic square for community activities and cultural events, flanked by new shops, restaurants and cafes
  • New green spaces including gardens, children’s play area and outdoor gym
  • More than £10million social and economic support for businesses and residents
  • Investment in the town centre and community events
  • Thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of new jobs following development
  • A new industrial space to support businesses from the existing Peacock Industrial Estate
  • A new district energy centre
Cllr Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning said:

‘Tottenham is London's most dynamic and important regeneration area and this is an exciting landmark in our ambitious plans to bring thousands of new homes and jobs to the area in the next two decades. This regeneration scheme has been strongly supported by tenants with local people heavily involved in shaping the plans for High Road West. Its welcome news that getting started on the scheme has taken a big step forward today.’

 

The Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) has helped a local engineering company create the right pattern for plugging its skills gap by taking on a new apprentice.

The ECMS is a new employer-led training facility for the Black Country, designed to enhance productivity in the region’s high value manufacturing sector by providing specialist training and helping to close skills gaps identified by employers.

Following a visit to The Skills Show in November, Christopher Ravenall, 20 from Castle Bromwich, was introduced to Elkington Brothers Ltd, a pattern and toolmaking firm based in Great Barr, Sandwell.

James Kelly, Managing Director at Elkington Brothers Ltd, said:  “We have an ageing workforce and an ever-increasing skills gap but we’ve struggled historically to find a course suitable for new apprentices.  We’ve worked closely with the ECMS in relation to developing relevant course content and an apprenticeship which covers the depths needed for pattern and tool making.

“Since the recession, demand for our products is on the increase and we’re looking to diversify into the rail and aerospace industries so ensuring that the workforce has the skills needed is a priority for the business.”

Christopher said:  “I didn’t have that much luck going through the traditional education system so thought that an apprenticeship would be a good alternative route to take.  My father is a toolmaker and I’m really keen to learn as much about the industry and engineering as I can in order to have the brightest future.”

Trevor Codner, Business Development Manager at the ECMS, said:  “We work with a variety of employers to find the right apprentices for them, and we work with our partners to ensure that the courses are fit for purpose in relation to the skills that are needed in the industry.

“Christopher was desperately looking for an opportunity and we were able to match him, not only to an apprenticeship that he was interested in, but we also found a suitable employer where he’s now working full-time.”

Set to open in January 2018, the ECMS Hub will be based at the University of Wolverhampton’s £100 million Springfield Campus and will deliver skills training, through short courses and apprenticeships, at four Spokes across the Midlands.

ECMS is a collaboration between the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, University of Wolverhampton, Dudley College, Cast Metals Federation, Confederation of British Metalforming and the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers.

Employers or potential apprentices should contact Trevor Codner at the ECMS on 0800 953 3222 or 01902 321663.

Could the traditional Christmas pudding soon be in danger of being consigned to history and replaced by a sponge alternative?

For the first time Tesco has this year more festive sponges on offer than Christmas puddings – 12 sponges compared with 10 traditional puddings.

The change has come because younger diners, and Millennials in particular, prefer sponges as they are easier to digest compared with heavier, fruited puddings.

In 2013 five times as many shopper bought Christmas puds compared to sponges. Now, it's only twice as many, and that gap is predicted to narrow even more this year.

Last Christmas Tesco saw demand for sponge alternatives grow by nearly 10 per cent on the previous year while sales of traditional puds remained stable. This year it is expecting even more customers to be in favour of sponges.

Tesco seasonal bakery buyer Vicky Smith explained:

“These sponge alternatives are proving popular as tastes are changing, particularly with younger people who are generally not so keen on fruited puddings.

“There is also more innovation to be found in sponges as shapes and centres can be different – such as our finest*Orange Liqueur Sponge with Belgian Chocolate Sauce, that you pour into the middle and let it gently cascade out.

“Another top seller in the run up to Christmas this year is our finest* Gingerbread and Butterscotch Melt Pudding.

“Along with sprouts, pudding is now the most divisive part of the festive feast – the choice between a traditional Christmas pud or a modern alternative.

“But if demand carries on at its present rate it might not be too long before the festive sponge takes over completely.”