Colors: Blue Color

Registered charity, Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced a joint fundraising partnership with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. The city centre theatre will be raising funds during the run of their production of The Hundred and One Dalmatians which bursts to life on stage from Thursday 30 November – Saturday 13 January.

There are various fundraising activities planned during the run of the show, which will help to jointly fundraise towards Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s million pound campaign REP First and the work of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

REP First is a three year campaign which aims to raise vital funds in order to ensure that the theatre can continue to nurture the region's talented young artists, commission exciting new works, welcome new audiences and reach out to the communities of Birmingham and beyond.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, now in their 35th year, trains dogs to alert deaf people to sounds they would otherwise miss – simple sounds that many people take for granted like the doorbell, alarm clock and even danger signals like the fire alarm. A hearing dog can also give a deaf person a newfound sense of independence and confidence helping to overcome the feeling of isolation and loneliness experienced by so many suffering from hearing loss.

Twenty pence of every pound raised will go towards the work of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, with the remainder going towards REP First initiatives, such as providing interpreters for the REP’s youth theatre in order for Deaf children and young people to take part, as well as allowing the theatre to stage more accessible productions for people with a variety of additional support needs.

Steve Heyes, Marketing Manager of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People said; “It’s wonderful that Hearing Dogs has been chosen as the official partner charity for The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of ‘101 Dalmatians’, especially in this, our 35th year. We’re working closely with The REP on a number of fun and exciting plans to engage families and visitors coming to see the show, to help raise awareness of the amazing work our hearing dogs do, completely transforming the lives of thousands of Deaf people in the UK. We’ll hopefully raise some important funds for the two charities during the show’s run.”

As part of The REP’s commitment to making theatre accessible to everyone, the entire run of The Hundred and One Dalmatians will be Audio Described and Captioned, meaning that audiences with visual or hearing impairments can enjoy these services on any performance. Dalmatians Pongo and Missis enjoy an idyllic life with their humans, Mr and Mrs Dearly. Then one day, the house is filled with the patter of tiny paws when Missis gives birth to a litter of adorable puppies. But just as the Dearlys get used to their new housemates, the puppies mysteriously vanish.

With the help of the canine community and an Old English Sheepdog, Pongo and Missis set out on an adventure to find the missing puppies. Their quest leads them to the vicious Cruella de Vil. She hates dogs but loves fur coats and has set her sights on a certain black and white spotty pattern. Will the animals be able to get home safely in time for Christmas?

Children and adults alike will be gripped by this magical tale as it comes to life live on stage, complete with beautiful staging and mesmerising puppetry from Director Tessa Walker and Designer Jamie Vartan who collaborated for the record-breaking 2015 production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Dodie Smith’s delightful and much-loved tale, adapted for the stage by the Writer and Director of the hugely popular Nativity! films, Debbie Isitt, is sure to get tails wagging this Christmas.

A new road safety campaign has launched today which proposes the radical adoption of a ‘fag-packet approach’ to UK speed limit signs. The suggested new tactic has already been backed by over half the nation, in the wake of research showing that millions of motorists ignore or don’t even notice speed limit signs in their current format.

That’s according to a new study from MORE TH>N which found that a whopping 62% of those surveyed admit they regularly ignore speed limit signs at present, with 25% also contesting that the threat of going to speed awareness isn’t a big enough deterrent from causing them to speed on a regular basis.

With this in mind, to mark this year’s Road Safety Week, MORE TH>N is launching a new road safety initiative which centres on calls to test the use of images of cars that have been in accidents as a visual accompaniment to existing numerical speed signs as a new means of deterring people from speeding on roads. The move has otherwise been labelled as applying the ‘fag-packet approach’ to the speeding epidemic, with a view to making people more instantly aware of the risks associated with their actions.

The new initiative also takes inspiration from previous, hard-hitting TV advertising campaigns that adopted a graphic approach to illustrate the dangers of speeding. The proposed new road sign initiative however would see this shock-factor concept placed in situ when people are actually behind the wheel, in what would be a UK first.

The new concepts of visual deterrent speed signs were tested with 2,000 motorists in a poll conducted by MORE TH>N, where they were backed by over half (58%) of those surveyed as potentially having a real impact on their driving, illustrating their possible value at helping make Britain’s roads safer.

So why were the signs effective in causing people to reduce their speed? Topping the list of reasons was the way in which they made people more tangibly aware of the dangers of speeding (67%), followed closely by the fact that they were so shocking (56%) and due to being more scared about crashing their car as a result (38%).


In the wake of the success of the initial research, MORE TH>N is now exploring possible follow-up activity with a view to securing an actual pilot of the signs on UK roads to test how effective they potentially are in causing people to reduce their speed, including approaching local police forces and pressure groups to garner further support for the campaign.

In addition to canvassing support for visual deterrents on speed signs, MORE TH>N also carried out research to provide a fuller picture of how people’s speeding habits vary across the UK. Specifically, the study found that 63% of Britons admit to regularly exceeding the speed limit each day, with one in 10 (10%) of those confessing to have picked up points in the past, as a result of being caught speeding behind the wheel.

A speed activated sign which flashes up the registration number of speeding vehicles is one of the latest measures to keep schoolchildren safe in Great Barr.
The sign, on the A34 Birmingham Road near St Margaret's CofE Primary school, is activated by any vehicle travelling above 30mph. The school and road safety officers say traffic has been noticeably slower since the sign's installation at the beginning of September.
It's part of a major road safety campaign on roads around the school, after three people were killed on local roads in just 12 months.
Sandwell Council's cabinet member for highways and environment Councillor David Hosell said: "The staff, pupils and parents at St Margaret’s were concerned about speeding outside the school and they have worked with us to help to make the area around their school safer for everyone.
"The children have designed road  signs and banners which we've put up on both sides of the road to remind drivers of the speed limit. Speed kills, I'd appeal to drivers to slow down and keep these children safe."
Head teacher Jayne Stackhouse said: "Our school community is really pleased that the work our children have done over the past year with Sandwell Road Safety Team and Sandwell councillors.

"It's really made a difference and resulted in new safety measures being put in place along the A34 road outside school which certainly seems to be working.

"I think St Margaret's School is now definitely more visible to road users and we feel a lot safer."

Helping home cooks to minimise food waste this Christmas and cure those inevitable sore heads, The Devilled Egg is releasing a series of tutorials and recipes designed for the day after the night before, including samosas, sliders and salpicon tacos. Having discovered that its subscribers waste 50% of their festive leftovers, Barbora Ormerod, head chef of the online cookery school, has developed a range of easy-to-follow recipes taking inspiration from around the world.

As well as tips on making use of the whole turkey carcass, subscribers to The Devilled Egg can expect to expand their culinary repertoire over Christmas with tutorials on making brioche- style buns, ready to be filled with pulled turkey and homemade BBQ sauce, cheat puff pastry for vegetable and blue cheese gallette and miso soup with dashi stock for a turkey ramen. With these video tutorials and recipes just a click away, home cooks will be able to reinvigorate that last slice of salmon or cheese, and put those Brussel sprouts and roast potatoes to good use in beautiful dishes that will help soak up the mulled wine and wow any unexpected guests who drop by.

Visitors to Wolverhampton on Wednesday, November 22 are being urged to plan their journeys with a bumper crowd expected for events in the city centre.

The Christmas festivities kick off at 5pm with a huge city centre lights switch-on and firework display in Queen Square.

Comedian Sean Lock is at the Civic Hall on his Keep It Light tour, with doors opening at 7pm, while Wolves FC also have a home fixture against Leeds at Molineux (ko 7.45pm).

The usual road closures for vehicles will be in place for the Christmas lights switch-on and firework display between 11am and 9pm:

  • Lichfield Street (closed in both directions between Princess Street and Queen Square)
  • Queen Square (closed entire length)
  • Darlington Street (closed in an eastern direction between Waterloo Road and Queen Square)
  • Red Lion Street/Paternoster Row/Mitre Fold/North Street/Corporation Street/Exchange Street/Cheapside/Lich Gates (closed entire length)
  • Dudley Street (closed between King Street and Queen Square)

In line with the Civic Hall’s new security measures, and to facilitate the Christmas lights switch-on, Red Lion Street, Paternoster Row, Mitre Fold, North Street and Corporation Street will be closed from 11am to 11.30pm.

Access in and out of the Civic Centre car park on this day will be via Wulfruna Street ONLY.

Due to the Blue Badge disabled bays being unavailable on Exchange Street and Cheapside, additional Blue Badge disabled bays will be provided in the Civic Centre car park on the night.

The city council is providing free car parking for all on the School Street car park and Market car park (accessed from Peel Street) from 2pm; and the Mander Centre car park is offering free parking from 4pm.

For other alternative council car parks in the city centre please visit:

Visitors to the city centre are also reminded to consider the road restrictions that have recently been put in place around Molineux Stadium on matchdays – particularly Waterloo Road.

For more information on these please visit:

Visitors are also reminded to allow extra time to pass through additional security measures at the above city centre events.

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “We have a fantastic city centre offer on Wednesday, November 22.

“We are expecting a bumper crowd in the city centre for the spectacular Christmas lights switch on and fireworks, plus fabulous entertainment at the Civic Hall and sporting action at top-of-the-table Wolves FC.

“To ensure visitors enjoy their evening to the full I would urge them to plan their journeys well in advance and take note of all the alternative car parks available in the city centre.”

The 300-acre luxury private island is an oasis of peace and tranquillity and a veritable winter wonderland, offering breath-taking views of Loch Creran and the rugged Highlands.

With a packed schedule of Christmas festivities planned from 23rd to 27th December and five days of New Year celebrations from 29th December through to 2nd January 2018, Eriska has something for everyone this season. These seasonal getaways offer ample opportunity to relax on the beautiful estate and include a range of festive activities such as a traditional Christmas service at the local church, a black-tie dinner; a special New Year treasure hunt and a Ceilidh.

Christmas Day begins with a relaxed champagne breakfast, followed by light lunch and an optional carol service at the local church. The day ends with a sumptuous black-tie Christmas dinner, created by Conor Toomey in the hotel's gourmet restaurant.

Guests can welcome 2018 in true Scottish style with a Ceilidh and a spectacular Hogmanay firework display over the sea. A series of optional activities will take place over the New Year period, including the annual Eriska treasure hunt, Highland Games and the first Open Golf Championship of the year on the resort's stunning nine-hole course. For those wanting to return to the dance floor, the inimitable Paddy Shaw and his Scottish Country Dance Band will be entertaining guests in the Drawing Room on New Year's Day.

Famed for its locally-sourced food, guests can indulge in beautifully prepared, exclusive menus, designed by Head Chef, Conor Toomey. Fish is sourced from the surrounding waters, meat from the nearby hills and game is supplied by a variety of local gamekeepers. Inspired vegetarian alternatives drawn from the hotel's gardens and larders are always available.

City of Wolverhampton Council has secured a £681,000 boost from the European Regional Development Fund to develop a ‘Garden City’ at Bilston Urban Village.

The Bilston Urban Village project ties in with the Garden City concept commissioned by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

It will see up to 450 homes built by private developers on former brownfield land, connected by around 14 hectares of land designated for public open space and nature conservation.

New artist’s impressions show how the Bilston Urban Village ‘Garden City’ concept will work.

The remainder of the £1.5 million needed for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy will be funded from £156,000 Section 106 private sector money already secured from developers, and council investment.

A contractor to deliver the open space development strategy will be announced before the end of the year.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “The Garden City concept provides an exciting opportunity to help promote investment in the Black Country.

“A major positive is that it not only focuses on the number of houses but also puts quality housing and developing vibrant communities at its core.

“Bilston Urban Village is a prime example of this and we are delighted to receive this European funding to help fulfil our ambitions.”

A Steering Group for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy is in place, consisting of City of Wolverhampton Council, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, Canal & River Trust, University of Wolverhampton, local residents, the Land Trust, and Ormiston South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.

The aim is to improve biodiversity and recreation, with works to include developing a network of paths for walking and cycling, clearing overgrown trees and shrubs, and providing fencing to properly define and protect areas.

Work will also be undertaken to significantly improve the nature conservation value of the sites. This will involve a range of activity such as woodland management, development of ground flora, meadow creation, tree planting, hedge planting, development of the attenuation pond, possible creation of a community orchard, provision of bird and bat boxes, and actions to increase biodiversity along the edges of the canal.

All this will lead to a significant enhancement of the open spaces within Bilston Urban Village, and it is proposed, on completion of the works, to declare the open space sites a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).

Christmas at the Valley is back and set to be even better than last year - with loads of fun for families including a Christmas circus.

For the second year in a row Sandwell Valley in West Bromwich will host the Christmas event throughout December.

Families can visit Santa's grotto, see the reindeer and take part in Christmas crafts. There will also be festive food and drinks, a small funfair, a Christmas shop and a treasure hunt.

This year, in addition to these festivities, families are set to be wowed by a Christmas circus. Shows will run throughout the day and include death-defying stunts like the wheel of death.

Christmas at the Valley runs every day from Saturday 2 December right up until Christmas Eve. Sandwell Park Farm will at open 10am to 6pm on weekends and 10am to 5pm on weekdays with last entry at 4pm during weekends and 3pm during the week. Tickets for Christmas Eve are already sold out.

Admission is £11 for children aged between two and 11 who want to see Santa in his grotto. Admission for children under two is £5, for adults and children aged 12 and over is £7 and £4 for over 60s. Admission for over 12s does not include a visit to the grotto.

A ceramic poppy garden has been unveiled at Tipton library, one of a number of Remembrance events held in the borough.

Scores of Tipton library-goers and local school pupils have been making the ceramic poppies as part of a project  called Tipton Remembers.

It was organised by library staff and the local history group in partnership with Ceramic Arts and Creative Black Country – who have been running special poppy-making workshops.

Wednesbury poet laureate, Brendan Hawthorne opened the event by blowing a whistle – the signal for men to go ‘over the top’, leaving the safety of the trenches and heading into battle – and performed a selection of World War l-themed poems. Sandwell Mayor, Councillor Ahmadul Haque MBE, cut a ribbon with St Paul's Church of England Academy pupils Nicole and Ibrahim, to officially open the poppy garden.

The garden takes pride of place underneath the library’s memorial boards which list the names of the local soldiers killed in the Great War, and will be on permanent display.

Councillor Haque, said: “I am honoured to unveil this commemorative ceramic poppy garden which has been created by local people and pupils from St Paul’s Academy.

“The garden is now going to be on permanent display and is a fitting reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in The Great War.”

A number of the ceramic poppies which have been made are for sale at the library during the next two weeks.

The multi-million pound Hornsey Town Hall development will include 11 social rented homes paid for by the developers, following robust negotiations by Haringey Council.

Developers FEC Crouch End Ltd agreed today (Wednesday 15 November) that they will cover the costs of building the homes as part of the landmark development of the Grade II* listed building in the heart of Crouch End.

The commitment also means the council will be able to invest its land receipt in building at least 15 additional affordable homes at other locations in the west of the borough – bringing the total number of affordable homes made possible by the Town Hall development to more than 25.

The pledge from FEC comes after weeks of strong negotiations and follows an earlier announcement that the Hornsey Town Hall planning application had been amended to include affordable housing.

Part of the Broadway Annexe element of the multi-million-pound restoration of the Town Hall site will be ring-fenced for the new social homes. The council will now explore how best to invest its land receipt from the sale of the site into further units on other sites.

The council has also negotiated a “review mechanism” with the developers, meaning that the viability of the scheme will be reviewed when the development is close to completion and any additional contribution negotiated at that stage will also be used to deliver even more off-site affordable housing.

Exciting proposals for the redevelopment of the Town Hall include £30million investment in restoring the Art Deco landmark – removing it from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register – and delivering a new arts centre, café and community spaces and hotel alongside a refurbished Town Hall Square designed in partnership with local residents.

Cllr Alan Strickland, Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning, said:

“We’ve been pressing the developers hard to cover the costs of affordable housing as part of their plans for Hornsey Town Hall, and I’m absolutely delighted that they’ve listened.

“We’ve been clear that our priority for Hornsey Town Hall has always been to see this beautiful building brought back into long-term sustainable use for future generations to enjoy. The redevelopment proposals show how the Town Hall could once again be the beating heart of Crouch End, with a new arts centre, café and community space.

“To have affordable homes sit alongside this is a tremendous bonus. I’m delighted also that FEC’s commitment to covering the costs means we will have more money to invest in further much-needed affordable housing at other locations in the west of the borough.”

Planning proposals will come before the council’s planning committee in December.

Offering a cosy place to stay without the numbness of waking to an empty house; a comforting homemade meal and a festive party with none other than Aled Jones MBE as the turkey carver.

These are just some of the ways in which national older people’s housing and care charity The Abbeyfield Society is looking at tackling loneliness in people aged 55 and over as the Christmas countdown begins in earnest.

Sadly, an estimated 500,000 older people are expected to spend Christmas alone in the UK.

Launching on Thursday November 16 was Abbeyfield’s annual Companionship at Christmas campaign which offers older people affected by loneliness the chance to share physical, emotional and spiritual warmth during the festive period and beyond.

Up and down the country, Abbeyfield houses will open their door providing free overnight stays, meals and entertainment.

Abbeyfield patron Aled Jones will be bringing Christmas early to the charity’s Victoria House in Kew, London Borough of Richmond, on Monday November 27 where he will be supporting the campaign with a Christmas sing along for residents and older people living alone in South West London.

The popular singer and presenter will also be helping carve the turkey at a Christmas lunch Abbeyfield are hosting in County Durham for 100 older people living alone in North East England on Tuesday, November 28 at The Kingslodge Inn, Durham City, County Durham.

Aled Jones, MBE, said: “I’m very much looking forward to sharing an early Christmas with Abbeyfield residents and getting into the Christmas spirit!  Christmas is a time of love and sharing and no one should be alone at Christmas.”

Abbeyfield chief executive David McCullough said: “The Christmas build up resonates with excitement and celebration for many of us, yet it’s a time when older people can feel at their most isolated and alone. Their usual clubs or activities close down for Christmas, relatives are dotted across the UK far away from them and feelings of bereavement for lost loved ones is amplified at a time when families traditionally come together.

“Abbeyfield was founded over 60 years ago in response to the crippling loneliness endured by a forgotten generation of older people. That ethos continues today with campaigns such as Companionship at Christmas as Abbeyfield continues to enrich the lives of older people and make their later years happy, easy and more fulfilled.

“If you or anyone you know is worried about being alone over Christmas, please do get in touch with Abbeyfield and join in the free Christmas events and celebrations happening across the country over the festive period.”

Now in its eighth year, Companionship at Christmas has offered a lifeline of warmth and friendship to thousands of older people at Christmas, such as 83-year-old pensioner, Ron Hoverd who lives on the Isle of Wight.

He and his wife Mary were inseparable during their 45-years of marriage. The former RAF corporal was at Mary’s bedside when she died. Her death left him devastated and struggling to cope.

Ron said: “I couldn’t have had a better woman which made losing her so difficult. I watched her die, which was heart-breaking. After the funeral I reached rock bottom and was struggling to get by. I was so lonely. Mornings were the worst. Everything was so quiet. No one to say good morning to and waking up to the emptiness of the house.”

For Ron, who has no immediate family, Christmas was one of the most difficult times.

“There’s nothing worse than being on your own at Christmas,” he said. “You know you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, but you’re sat there by yourself, wishing the day would end.

Age UK put Ron in touch with his local Abbeyfield House in Cowes, where staff invited him to join them for Christmas Day lunch. Since then, Ron has become a regular at Abbeyfield Clifton House. An avid gardener, he volunteers to help make sure the house’s grounds bloom and enjoys a homemade lunch several times a week. But more importantly, he thrives from having the company of other around him.

“It’s a lifesaver from my point of view. It means so much having Abbeyfield there.”

Taxi drivers and council officers from across the UK today (Tuesday) got their first look at the new all electric taxis that could soon be on City of Wolverhampton streets.

The taxi forum at Grand Station in the city centre showcased the London Taxi Company’s TX Electric taxi and the Dynamo Motor Company’s all electric taxi.

It was a chance for representatives from the taxi associations in the City of Wolverhampton to find out more about the types of electric taxis on offer ahead of new electric vehicle charging points being installed in the city centre.

The Dynamo is now on sale, while the TX Electric is available for order and will be launched in London next month, and in the Midlands in 2018.

City of Wolverhampton Council was handed £478,000 government funding in March to help fulfil a long-term plan to grow the number of electric taxis in the city.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has since confirmed the electric charging network can also be made available for public use.

The funding means work can now start in the city on building the infrastructure to facilitate electric vehicles as they become more readily available over the next decade.

An initial 24 charging points will be installed over the next three years, with the aid of funding from a private sector partner, and the first points could be in place by summer 2018.

The management of the project will be put in the hands of a specialist private partner, who will be responsible for building, operating and marketing the network as well as providing 24/7 service, maintenance and repair.

The OLEV funding comes at a time when the Government has announced its plan to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

The widespread introduction of electric cars in the city would have significant environmental benefits such as a reduction in vehicles’ exhaust emissions to help improve local air quality, reduced carbon emissions, and a reduction in traffic noise.

Cabinet Member for City Environment, Councillor Steve Evans, said: “We are working closely with the taxi drivers in the city on this project and we are delighted OLEV has allowed us to broaden the scheme out for public use.

“Electric vehicles bring many benefits. They improve air quality and public health, make the city more attractive, support the economy of the Midlands, and support innovation and transformation, as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions.

“The idea of bringing on board a private sector partner also means we don’t anticipate any need to use council funds.”

By their nature, dogs are a highly social species - they have a natural instinct to live in harmonious groups. However some dogs may find this more difficult than others, potentially experiencing signs of anxiety when they are around other dogs.

Whether it’s seeing other dogs in the park or living with another four legged friend at home, it’s important that your pooch is calm and comfortable when encountering other dogs.

As part of their “Happy Dogs, Happy Days” campaign, Lintbells, manufacturers of premium pet supplement YuCALM Dog, is working with dog behavioural expert Dr. Emily Blackwell to help owners to spot and deal with any anxiety your dog may be experiencing when they are in the company of other canines.

“Although dogs can naturally be very sociable animals, this may not be the case for all. Some dogs can love being around others playing and running around, however some may find this more difficult and become nervous.

“An instance when this issue may become apparent is when you are introducing another dog into your home. This can be an exciting time for the family, welcoming a new canine companion in to the house, but for the new addition it can be nerve-wracking.

“There are a number of tips you can follow however, to ensure the introduction goes without hiccups:

  • Before the big move in day take both dogs for a walk, and if things go well bring them back to the garden allowing the new dog off the lead to explore first before letting the resident dog off the lead.
  • Try to avoid leaving “valuable” items, such as bones and chews, around the house for the first few weeks, and feed the dogs in separate rooms to begin with
  • Don’t tell either dog off if things appear tense, try to distract them calmly to diffuse the situation
  • Watch your dogs. Learn how they communicate using visual signals, so that you can start to “read” what they are “saying” to each other. If one dog is showing signs of anxiety look out to see if the other dog is backing off, or continuing to play
  • Relaxed interactions between both dogs should appear more equal, with both dogs taking turns to chase or wrestle each other
  • It’s important to remember that if your dog doesn’t naturally enjoy playing or interacting with other dogs and instead avoids them when out and about, think carefully before bringing a new dog into your home. Not all dogs benefit from having a “friend” and it may cause stress.
“Problematic behaviour in dogs when they encounter an unfamiliar dog can be very common, and can make walks extremely difficult for the owner. However, there are some top tips to keep in mind to help you if your dog does react:
  • Don’t overwhelm them – Many people believe that they need to make their dog “face its fear” or “socialise” with other dogs, however this isn’t the case. Every time your dog reacts to another dog the behaviour becomes more well-established and rather than improving, the reaction is likely to worsen.
  • Find your dog’s threshold – You should aim to only encounter other dogs at a distance at which your dog remains calm. This may be the other side of the road, or the other side of a field, each dog’s threshold will be different
  • Make positive associations – Once you’ve found the distance at which your dog doesn’t react, you can reward the unreactive behaviour with treats or extra fuss. They are then more likely to remain calm next time.
  • Stay on your toes – Be alert for signs that your dog may be uncomfortable, don’t wait until they are lunging/barking at other dogs, move away at the earliest signs your dog is worried
  • Remain calm – Although it can be frustrating/embarrassing to have a dog that lunges and barks, it’s important that you don’t get angry and tell them off. This will just confirm to your dog that other dogs are bad news.
“If you do remain concerned about your dog’s behaviour and think that they may be experiencing anxiety you should contact your vet or a Qualified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) for advice.”

If you are worried that your dog may be experiencing some anxiety,  Lintbells also offer a natural calming supplement, YuCALM Dog, which can be added to their diet to help reduce dog anxiety.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has celebrated the 35th anniversary of its longest-established store in the West Midlands. The store in Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre was opened in 1983, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and breakfast television was just beginning.

Since then it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support vulnerable children and young people across the UK. In the last year alone the team received more than 7,700 bags of donations from more than 3,150 supporters.

The team of dedicated staff and volunteers celebrated the anniversary by cutting a specially-decorated cake on Tuesday. Barnardo’s manager Robyn Phillips said: “We were amazed when we realised just how long the store has been fundraising for the charity. It’s a major milestone and we wanted to do something to mark the occasion and to thank all of our volunteers.

“We have a fantastic team aged from 20 years old up to 74 years old, and the longest-serving supporter has been with us for an astonishing 30 years!

“Over the last 12 months they’ve donated more than 2,400 hours of their own time to help with sorting the stock and serving the customers. Their dedication is unbelievable.

“They all work incredibly hard, but they’re very proud of what they do and we always have a laugh and a joke together.”

Robyn added: “No two days are ever the same and we never know what we’re going to find inside a bag of donations. We’ve received all sorts of items ranging from tins of dog food and a used toothbrush to Tiffany bracelets worth several hundred pounds.

“People offer whatever they can to help us and we wouldn’t be able to operate without their support. Thanks to all of our donors and customers, we’re able to raise much-needed funds to continue the charity’s life-changing work.”

This Christmas, luxury island resort Essque Zalu Zanzibar is filling the island with music and festive joy with an exciting programme of family activities, unforgettable experiences and delectable gourmet treats. Starting from 23 December and continuing through into 2018, this one-of-a-kind festivity is guaranteed to create precious moments for everyone.

Kicking off the programme, guests are invited to explore the resort's very own Christmas Market. Showcasing local artwork, handmade decorations, bespoke jewellery, local crafts and accessories, there is a unique gift waiting to be found for friends and family. Adding to the festive atmosphere will be the warm and wholesome chorus of Essque Zalu's very own angels, a local carol choir who last year performed on celestial swings under the resort's spectacular and iconic Makuti roof.

Despite an absence of chimneys, the much anticipated visit of Santa for the hotel's younger guests on Christmas Eve will not be forgotten, with kids waking-up to find a unique, personalised gift waiting on their doorstep. Throughout the day, a fun-packed programme of festive activities, from spice-infused cookery classes to craft making, ensures families have a Christmas filled with laughter and lasting memories.

As Christmas Eve draws to a close, food lovers will be spoilt for choice as the resort's chefs prepare a culinary programme. Choose between an intimate family meal or a traditional gastronomic feast with a spectacular Gala Dinner featuring speciality dishes by award-winning Executive Chef Ramkalawon Anuraag such as sweet-spiced duck breast with saffron mash; cured Red Snapper with Zanzibari spices and pineapple compote; the catch-of-the-day marinated in Gunpowder spices and roasted pumpkin; and poached mango in cardamom syrup with a refreshing lime sorbet.

On 31 December, guests can embark on a gourmet journey via numerous culinary stations in the resort's World Food Market.  With locally sourced, deliciously winter warming food showcasing the best of European dishes, Asian delicacies and local favourites, the Food Market will be the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Bidding farewell to 2017 and welcoming in 2018, the island resort is transformed for a grand New Year's Eve party. Spectacular acrobatic performers, live cooking stations, and music from some of the island's finest musicians and DJs will make this a night to remember.

Assistant coroners were sworn in at an official ceremony at the Coroners Court in Jack Judge House, Oldbury.

The new Assistant Coroners Ms Laura Nash, Ms Emma Serrano and Ms Emma Whiting have received the consent of the Chief Coroner and Lord Chancellor, and will support the Senior Coroner Mr Zafar Siddique in serving bereaved families in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Deputy leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Syeda Khatun said: “Following the retirement of existing assistant coroners, we recognised it is important  that we ensure the Senior Coroner has sufficient resources.

"The council understands the importance bereaved families place on a service such as the coroners.

"Along with the recent investment into the excellent court facilities at Jack Judge House in Oldbury, the new assistant coroners will ensure families from across the Black Country have access to what has been described as a centre of excellence by the Chief Coroner of England and Wales."