Colors: Blue Color

People in the West Midlands are being asked to unite with thousands of others across the UK and step closer to a cure for Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK is launching Walk for Parkinson’s 2018 on Thursday 11 January, and the charity is inviting people of all ages and abilities to sign up to a walk near them.

Walks in the West Midlands include Stafford on Sunday 13 May, and Packwood House in Warwickshire on Sunday 9 September.

There are shorter and longer distances to choose from, so whether you’re up for a challenging walk or a gentle stroll, there is something for everyone. Team entries are welcome, so why not sign up with your friends, family and colleagues.

Walking and other types of exercise is particularly important for people with Parkinson’s as research shows that two and half hours of exercise a week can help slow progression of symptoms. Exercise also has a positive impact on wellbeing and mental health.

Sky Sports Presenter and Champion of Walking for Parkinson’s UK Dave Clark was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011. He is a keen walker himself and is encouraging people to get involved. He said: “We want to make 2018 our biggest year yet for the Walk for Parkinson’s series. I’d like to invite everyone, whatever their level of fitness, to take advantage of the many different types of walks, scenic routes and distances available. Exercise can be really beneficial for people living with Parkinson’s. It is as important to me as my medication in helping me take control and manage my symptoms.

“So please join us at one of our Walk for Parkinson’s in the West Midlands. Every step takes us closer to a cure and our goal of improving the lives of everyone affected by Parkinson’s”.

Last year’s Walk for Parkinson’s series had more than 4,300 people sign up to walk and between them they raised £417,700. In the West Midlands more than 250 walkers got involved and raised nearly £26,000.

All money raised by Walk for Parkinson’s will be used to help find better treatments, and ultimately a cure, as well as providing support and information for the 145,000 people affected by Parkinson’s across the UK.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has launched two new Satellite Clinics to ensure more people living across Birmingham and Sandwell have access to crucial hospice care.

The independent hospice has now opened a clinic at Cape Hill Medical Centre in Smethwick and Druids Heath Surgery in South Birmingham, making its services more accessible to individuals and families living with terminal illness.

The Satellite Clinics are part of a new approach to hospice care, aimed at improving accessibility, reach and choice for individuals and their families, loved ones and carers. By opening clinics in well-established medical centres, the Hospice aims to bring care closer to people in their own communities, helping to break down any potential barriers and ensuring more individuals are receiving the critical support they need.

The Hospice now has four Satellite Clinics across the city, with clinics also based in Sparkbrook and Bartley Green which opened in August last year.

Sharon Hudson, community team leader at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “Our Satellite Clinics are a really effective way of reaching more individuals who may not be aware of hospice care or want to access care within their own community. After a positive start for our Sparkbrook and Bartley Green clinics, we have seen that offering services in the heart of local communities helps us support more people, ensuring that less miss out on vital end of life care.

“At our Satellite Clinics, we have expert teams of clinical nurse specialists who can provide a wide range of services, including physical, social and psychological advice, symptom management, and family and carer support.”

Tina Swani, chief executive at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “Unfortunately, there are too many individuals dying alone, unsupported or with avoidable symptoms, unaware of the difference hospice care could offer them. At Birmingham St Mary’s, our mission is to provide hospice care for all and we are working to create a future where the best experience of living is available to everyone leading up to and at the end of life.

“Our Satellite Clinics are an innovative solution to expand expert services into more local communities, helping us to bring hospice care closer to the people who need it.”

Every day, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice supports 350 individuals across Birmingham and Sandwell – whether that’s at the Hospice, in people’s homes or in the local community.

The clinic at Cape Hill Medical Centre will be open every Friday, from 9.30am to 1.30pm. The clinic at Druids Heath Surgery will be open every Monday, from 1pm to 3pm. For more information, visit:

Fear of a potential negative effect on their career is preventing people with hearing loss from disclosing their condition to their employers.

More than half of people living with deafness and hearing loss feel they can’t be open about it in the workplace, according to a new survey by charity Action on Hearing Loss. The new research has been conducted as part of the charity’s Working for Change campaign, which wants to change attitudes to deafness and hearing loss in the workplace.

A third of those who felt they could not be open about their hearing loss said it was due to the fear that they would be treated unfairly at work. A further 61% felt that that others would assume they weren’t competent and 42% saw no point because their workplace wouldn’t be able to help them.

In addition, 84% of respondents have felt stressed and over two-thirds have experienced isolation in the workplace.

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “This new research shows that despite there being 11 million – that’s one in six - people in the UK living with some form of deafness and hearing loss, many of these in employment are struggling unnecessarily. It’s shocking that in 2017, and despite a lot of work by governments and employers to encourage more inclusivity and accessibility, people with deafness and hearing loss feel they can’t be open about it.

“It seems much of the awareness raising has neglected to include invisible disabilities like deafness and hearing loss. The levels of stress and the isolation experienced by people with hearing loss at the workplace are shocking. The numbers are certainly not helped by working cultures where people are worried about talking openly about their condition and the support they might need.

“The prevalence of hearing loss is only going to increase, with 433500 already living in West Midlands (Met County), so it’s therefore essential that employers take note of these findings and create a working environment where people feel both able and welcome to disclose disabilities and sensory impairments.”

Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer at Business Disability Forum, said: “These findings once again show how important it is for workplaces to make themselves welcoming to everyone, and foster an environment where all employees feel able to progress. There is a very real business prerogative to this, with disability-smart workplaces shown by our own research to have lower rates of employee turnover. Having a more stable and supported workforce could deliver savings running into the billions across different sectors.

“As Action on Hearing Loss’s research suggests, a key first step to take is to dispel any sense of stigma or taboo around disabilities and long-term health conditions, and many of the organisations in the Business Disability Forum community have done this to great effect. Networks where employees with specific conditions can come together to talk and share experiences have brought about real cultural change, including at large multinational companies, with senior champions being open about their conditions and clear that the organisation views disability in a positive light.”

The charity has produced guidance for employers on how to make their workplaces more accessible for people with deafness and hearing loss – from simple deaf awareness tips for staff to providing more detailed information on how the Government’s Access to Work scheme can help enable employees.

Paul continued: “There are a number of things employers can do to support staff with hearing loss and deafness. From basic deaf awareness training for staff and management, the fundamentals of which are common courtesy and being considerate, to taking advantage of Access to Work to cover the cost of amplified phones, there needn’t be barriers for anyone.”

A new, free way to help people to monitor their weight has been introduced at Sandwell libraries.

Weigh2GO is a free, informal, self-monitoring weight management programme using the latest technology and is available at all Sandwell libraries.

The scheme – which uses smart scales for people to track and monitor their weight – is run by the council's public health team with support from libraries.

People who are Sandwell residents or have a Sandwell GP and have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 23 or above should contact the Healthy Sandwell team on 0800 011 4656 for a free referral.

Under Weigh2GO, people weigh themselves on smart scales and their weight data is sent to their smart phones or smart devices and email account. They can also access support online and track their progress through the programme. The programme uses smart scales and is therefore compatible with wearable activity trackers.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “This is a new valuable tool which can help people to get accurate and regular checks on their weight.

“I think it is important that this new service is available in all areas at all Sandwell libraries so that they have a flexible way in their busy lifestyles to regularly monitor their weight.”

Public health officers point out that since the scheme started, they have found that participants are losing a significant amount of weight.

This programme is supported by weight management development officers (WMDOs) who work for public health. They have expanded the programme into several community settings, such as leisure centres and faith organisations, to help more people access this simple but effective programme.

Dr Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria's Executive Vice President in the second republic from 1979 - 1983, was an intellectual of many shades with several degrees and doctorate degrees. He was an example of the rare and quintessential Nigerian, who placed the country above personal, party or partisan interest, in the belief that the country could only move forward and realize it's vast potentials, only when politicians rise above personal and parochial interests and put the country first.

He had in fact prepared himself to lead our great country out of the doldrums, into international significance, and position Nigeria as a true world power economically and politically but that dream was never actualized.

Dr Ekwueme was a visionary, unifying and creative leader, focused on the progress and development of Nigeria. He was super brilliant, resourceful, disciplined, principled and hard working.

In 1999, he almost single- handedly founded and nurtured the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria, with a view to leading the party to the general elections, and thereby, fulfill his nationalistic agenda for Nigeria, but this mandate was scuttled surreptitiously.

All through his life, the late Dr Ekwueme pursued philanthropy and the philosophy of one Nigeria, that should better the lot of her citizens. No wonder he built the Oko Polytechnic for his community and continued to support it throughout his life.

Nigeria and indeed Africa have lost a giant, whose loss is irreplaceable. His foot prints have been laid in the sands of time and his legacy will live forever.

We join all Nigerians to pray for eternal rest for our departed Dr Ekwueme.


Mike Ndukwe Leader Council of Igbo Communities UK

Efuru Nwapa- Obua Secretary/ Legal Adviser Council of Igbo Communities UK

Dame Trot from Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s pantomime, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK took some time out of her busy schedule to visit Wolverhampton’s new Debenhams store in the Mander Centre.

The Debenhams store opened its doors in October 2017 - perfect timing for the run up to Christmas – which has been a busy one for both staff at the store and at the theatre. With the pantomime ending its five-week run on Sunday, Dame Trot played by Ian Adams went to visit the staff for a pamper in the new Debenhams Store before one final week of performances.

Sonia Kaur, Service Manager at Debenhams Wolverhampton said; “it was a delight having Dame Trot and the boys visit the store – they’re certainly looking fabulous!”

Ian Adams has returned for a second year as Dame in the Grand Theatre pantomime. He recently formed StarDam productions – a company who specialise in creating stage versions of popular children’s stories which have also been popular at the Grand Theatre. Ian is currently nominated for Best Panto Dame in the Midlands in the What’s On Readers Awards. Voting is currently open here:

Scott Bird, Press & PR Manager at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre said; “it’s great news that Ian Adams is recognised in the What’s On Readers’ Awards for Best Pantomime Dame. The new Debenhams store in the Mander Centre was the perfect place for a fabulous Dame and the boys to take some time out in style before the show!”

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is now in its final week of performances and runs until Sunday 14 January 2018. Tickets can be booked in person, by phone on 01902 42 92 12 or online at

Blenheim Palace has an eggcellent Easter weekend planned for all the family to enjoy from 30 March – 2 April, with lots of additional fun to be had over the entire Easter holidays.

Follow an over-sized Easter Egg Hunt throughout the 'Capability' Brown Parkland and Pleasure Gardens with some 8ft giant decorated eggs to find. Explore the grounds to seek out the special 'Blenheim Egg', note its location on your map and enter into a competition to win an Easter surprise.

Blenheim Palace's Pleasure Gardens will transform into an Easter wonderland with lots of interactive experiences, family-friendly activities and shows to enjoy.

Find a traditional Victorian fairground with vintage rides for the whole family.

Embark on an Easter Bunny Walkabout; or frolic with the fairy stilt walkers; plus have a go at Archery and get jumping on the bouncy castle or trampolines!

Families can also see an Easter Puppet Show, watch Balloon Twisters, take part in Circus Skills Workshops and have their faces painted over the four day celebration.

All the usual family favourites can still be found in The Pleasure Gardens throughout the holidays, with permanent features, including the giant Marlborough Hedge Maze, The Butterfly House and the Adventure Playground.

Tuck into a feast of family-friendly food with a range of fresh hot and cold snacks, handmade pizzas, soups, salads, ice cream and a selection of healthy choices for children.

People can banish the winter blues and get fitter by joining in cycleathon sessions at Sandwell Central Library this month (January).

Five minutes on the library’s exercise bike means a mile travelled and is a good way of getting that little bit fitter.

Library staff are inviting everyone to come in and try out their exercise bike and see how many miles can be clocked up during one month.

Central Library in High Street, West Bromwich, has a range of fitness equipment to try and you can also borrow resistance bands and choose from a wide range of books on health and fitness.

Those wishing to lose weight can also take advantage of the Weigh2GO scheme where you can use smart Fitbit scales to get weighed and have the information sent straight to your phone.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “This is another good idea for people to use a few minutes at their local library to get a little fitter for the year ahead.

“People calling in for books and the other library services can have a quick workout to get a health mind and healthy body.”

Leading property developer, Ion, who has been instrumental in helping City of Wolverhampton Council deliver the Interchange masterplan for the city, including the i10 office and the new bus station, has announced a public consultation event on Thursday, 18th January to showcase the plans for the eye-catching i9 modern office development proposed for Railway Drive.

i9 emerged as a scheme following the success of the award-winning i10 building and was unveiled by the City of Wolverhampton at MIPIM property event in 2017 after a national competition was run for the winning design.

It is hoped i9, which will provide 50,000 sq. ft. of Grade A office space, will be completed in 2020 and could become a national or regional headquarters for a major business.

Glenn Howells Architects’ design was selected by the council and development partner, ION, from a strong field of ten UK leading architects and urban design practices.

They are the architects behind the Paradise Birmingham scheme – one of the biggest city centre development projects in the UK.

Fraser Godfrey, architect from Glenn Howells said: ‘The design had to be sensitive to neighbouring landmarks such as the Chubb Buildings and the Prince Albert pub and will become a stunning contemporary addition to Wolverhampton’s family of red-brick Victorian buildings. It is set to house restaurants or cafes in the ground floor of the building as well as a rooftop amenity space, with panoramic views towards the city centre conservation area and Interchange.’

A drop-in event held on Thursday, 18th January, 3pm to 7pm at the Light House, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer St, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT, will give the public the opportunity to see the plans that Ion has developed for the site, meet the architects and give feedback to the developer’s team. Ion’s plans are also available to view on their website –

Ion is an expert at regeneration and have been instrumental in various transformational city centre schemes around the country including Liverpool Lime Street, Mann Island and the Speke Airport Hangers and Terminal Buildings.

Steve Parry, managing director of Ion, commented: ‘Glenn Howells have created a brilliant concept for i9. It will strengthen Wolverhampton’s appeal as a place to conduct business. We look forward to showcasing the design and hearing the feedback from the public.’

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: ‘Glenn Howells Architects have produced outstanding designs, that combined with blueprints for the other parcels of land, will help us quickly progress developments with our Interchange partners over the coming years.

‘Since i10 was completed we have seen increasing demand for quality office space in that location of the city, particularly from large space users.

‘i9 was always envisaged to satisfy that demand, and we are confident these plans will deliver a landmark office building of the utmost quality that is entirely appropriate to its important historic setting.

‘We want this building to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city and to demonstrate our ambition for the city centre.’

La Manga Club's highly-rated West Course has won new recognition as one of Europe's elite golf venues after being included in the respected Top 100 Golf Courses website's latest European rankings for the first time in its burgeoning history.

The 6,347-yard par-72 layout was one of 15 new entries in the updated list of the best courses on the continent, breaking into the standings at number 95.

Designed by Dave Thomas and opened in 1996, the West Course is the newest of La Manga Club's three 18-hole courses, with the tree-lined layout offering the perfect contrast to its older resort siblings – the North and the South, host of numerous high-profile tournaments including five Spanish Opens.

Announcing its decision, the Top 100 Golf Courses website said: “The West Course is, without doubt, the jewel in the crown at La Manga Club and is totally different from the other two layouts.

“Gone are the palms and in come the pines, doglegs and tight, tricky holes. It's a beautiful course, well manicured and with marvellous scenery all around.”

Featuring three 18-hole golf courses, a nine-hole academy course and outstanding practice facilities, La Manga Club has been at the forefront of European golf since opening in 1972, and this winter joined a select group of courses in Spain to have been granted royal status by the Spanish royal household after being awarded the title 'Real Golf La Manga Club'.

Three times the size of Monaco and nestling in an exclusive corner of Murcia in south-east Spain, the resort recently celebrated its 45th anniversary and has gone from strength-to-strength over the last 12 months following continued investment on and off the golf course.

Among the top accolades it has received recently, La Manga Club was named 'Europe's Leading Luxury Resort & Villas 2017' at the World Travel Awards Europe and 'Europe's Best Golf Venue' at the 2017 World Golf Awards.

The official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the resort's unrivalled facilities also include a 28-court tennis centre, a new European Cricket Performance Centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. In addition, it features the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 15 bars and restaurants.

This Spring will see the return of the UK’s muddiest fundraising event for little ones – Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children. Last year saw 160,000 children across the UK take part, raising an incredible £243,000 for Save the Children’s vital work, and this year the charity hopes even more people will sign up, take part and donate.

Between 23 and 29 April 2018, nurseries, early years groups, families and children up and down the country are being encouraged to take part in a Muddy Puddle Walk to raise money for the international children’s charity.

Organising a Muddy Puddle Walk is a great way for your little ones to explore the world around them and jump in muddy puddles, like Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig, for a worthy cause.  Whether you splash in puddles along a trail at the park or get creative and make your own puddles indoors from paper and foil – your Muddy Puddle Walk will be a fun day to spend together that littles ones won’t forget. Raise funds in the way that suits you – help walkers get sponsored for their walk, ask for a donation to take part or even bake Muddy Puddle cupcakes to sell on the day! The money you raise will help Save the Children’s work to transform the lives of vulnerable children in the UK and around the world.

Sophie Pirouet, Fundraising Campaigns Manager at Save the Children, says: “We hope everyone will get outside this Spring, come rain or shine, and help raise much needed funds for Save the Children. It’s so easy to take part and it’s the perfect excuse to explore the outdoors with your little ones. By jumping in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig and raising money for Save the Children you can help give children a brighter future.”

By taking part in a Muddy Puddle Walk and raising money for Save the Children, you can help vulnerable children around the world have a safe place to play and learn.  Sign up now at  for your free Muddy Puddle Walk Fundraising Pack full of fun Peppa Pig inspired activities to help you get started – with tips for great walks indoors and out, fundraising ideas, fun activities to get your walkers ready for the big day and at the end of the walk, there’s a free Peppa Pig sticker reward for every child. The fundraising pack will also explain what life is like for children in different countries, helping them see how they are making a difference through supporting Save the Children.

All About Dogs are the UK's largest and fastest growing festivals devoted to dogs and their owners.

Created by dog lovers for dog lovers they're the ultimate weekend of canine fun, entertainment and adventure.

From April to October, the All About Dogs extravaganza will visit Trinity Park in Ipswich, Newbury Showground, Newark Showground, the Brentwood Centre in Essex, Norfolk Showground and Hylands Park in Chelmsford.

All About Dogs director Matt Upson said: “The festivals' popularity is growing every year and we are always looking at new ways to entertain and delight our visitors.

“We see the shows as really fun family events and, of course, that definitely includes the doggy family members.

“Our aim is to deliver a spectacular, feel good day out for both our two and four legged visitors and to offer them something unique they wouldn't get at a traditional dog show event,” he added.

There's an unrivalled programme of shows, events, arena displays, demonstrations, activities and family entertainment as well as expert advice and unbeatable shopping opportunities.

From fun dog show classes for everything from the cutest pup and best rescue to waggiest tail and baddest hair day to talent shows for gifted pooches All About Dogs is a joyous celebration of man's best friend.

World class arena displays and demonstrations showcase the extraordinary skills and bonds of both the dogs and their handlers and there's the chance to meet and chat with renowned dog experts at the Village Green.

Meet the Breeds' sessions provide a fascinating insight into the individual characteristics, requirements and personalities of different breeds and there are a host of rescue centres, owners, charities and clubs on hand to answer questions.

The Main Stage plays host to a packed programme of interactive talks and demonstrations as well as live performances and special guest star appearances and the show is packed with a huge selection of both dog-related and general stands and stalls selling the very latest gadgets and products with many at special discounted prices.

All About Dogs is a family event with great entertainment for all ages. The Children's Fun Zone includes inflatables, fairground rides and lots of other kids' activities.

2018 Dates are:

  • April 1st-2nd Suffolk – All About Dogs Show, Trinity Park, Ipswich
  • April 14th-15th Newbury – All About Dogs Show, Newbury Showground
  • April 21st-22nd Newark – All About Dogs Show, Newark Showground
  • May 6th-7th Essex – All About Dogs Show, Brentwood Centre, Brentwood
  • August 26th-27th Norfolk – All About Dogs Show, Norfolk Showground
  • September 22nd-23rd Hylands Park – All About Dogs Show, Hylands Park, Chelmsford

From mowing the lawn to cleaning the toilet, when it comes to moving in together, making compromises with your partner is inevitable. They say that you don’t truly know your other half until you live together, but what are the pet peeves that are really infuriating couples across the nation?

A recent study1 by bed and sleep specialist, Time 4 Sleep, reveals the things that annoy Brits the most about living with their partner.

The researched discovered that, when it comes to annoying bedroom habits, snoring tops the list, with over 28 million people (44%) in the UK admitting that their other half’s noisy sleeping habit irritates them.

Other bedroom habits testing the nation’s relationships include; hogging the bed sheets (23%), leaving the bed unmade (16%), eating in bed (15%) and having different sleeping patterns (15%). Recent research by Furniture Choice2 also revealed other bed sharing habits that are annoying the nation, includes; fidgeting too much (30%), taking up too much space in bed (23%) and stealing or encroaching on their pillow (15%).

It’s not only our bedroom habits that are winding up our other halves either. If you’re looking to dodge an argument, it might be worth avoiding the following top five biggest relationship pet peeves:

  • Leaving dirty laundry on the floor (29%)
  • Not doing their share of the chores (28%)
  • Not doing the washing up (27%)
  • Leaving dirty plates and glasses around the house (26%)
  • Not being romantic enough (22%)
When it comes to settling arguments, it seems that allowing our other halves to watch what they want on TV is one of the biggest relationship compromises we can make, with 27% of the nation agreeing that they find it hard to let their partner have their own way with the remote.

Other relationship compromises include agreeing to cook and clean more (27%), having to change our eating habits to suit our partner (19%) and spending more money (17%).

Robyn Haldane, 25 year old Business Development Executive from Leeds, reveals her biggest pet peeves when living with her boyfriend. She says: “I love my boyfriend very much but sometimes it’s like living with a man child along with our actual 5 year old daughter! He just loves winding me up at every opportunity.

“Some of his more annoying habits include; taking every pair of shoes off in the living room and leaving them there as a collection, eating everything, if I make lunch for work the next day he will eat it, turning off the TV when I’m halfway through watching something, never emptying the bin and tripping me up all the time when we go shopping! He is good at doing the washing and hanging it out to dry though.”


Families in the West Midlands will get tips for healthier snacking when Public Health England’s (PHE) Change4Life roadshow comes to the Black Country next week. First stop will be Walsall Tesco Extra, Littleton Street on Monday 8 January. Next will be Dudley Tesco Extra at Town Gate Retail Park on Tuesday 9 January, followed by Tesco on New Street in West Bromwich on Wednesday 10 January. All roadshows will be open from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

In February the Change4Life roadshow will also visit Tesco Superstore at Keyway Retail Park in Willenhall (Thurs1 Feb). There will also be stops in Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Burton, Coventry and Birmingham (see Notes to Editors).

The Change4Life roadshow will visit 30 supermarkets and 14 shopping centres nationwide, encouraging parents to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max”. This is because half the sugar children consume, currently around 7 sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay. Recent data show 24.2% of 4- to 5-year-olds (Reception Year) are overweight or obese in the West Midlands region, increasing to 37.1% in 10- to 11-year-olds (Year 6).

Dr Lola Abudu, PHE West Midlands Director of Health and Wellbeing, said: “Changing our children’s snacking habits can be a real challenge and we want to make it easier for families to find healthier options. By asking parents to Look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max, we’re helping them to give heathier snacks, while giving them less frequently.”

At the event, families will see live demonstrations of the new Change4Life ‘Food Scanner’ app; which works by scanning the barcode of products and helps bring food labels to life by highlighting the number of calories, as well as how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in everyday food and drinks. Families will also be shown how to swap to healthier snack options using front of pack ‘traffic light’ labels.

On the day, parents can sign up to Change4Life for additional support and money-off vouchers to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.

With selected supermarkets signposting parents to healthier snacks and special offers, including fruit and vegetables, Change4Life is making it easy and simple for the whole family to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max.”

Work will start next week on Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s improvements programme.

The Sensing Sculpture room will be closed from Wednesday, January 10 as first-floor redevelopment - funded by external grants - gets underway.

It will be transformed into an exhibition space that will welcome larger touring exhibitions and workshops, allow for items from collections to be on display, and improve the hire of the venue.

For example, the popular Lichfield Street gallery has been able to host part of the Natural History Museum’s World Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in recent years – and the new gallery space will now allow it to display the whole exhibition.

The new gallery space is expected to open in March.

A limited number of items from the Sensing Sculpture room will be on display elsewhere in the gallery throughout the works.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Thanks to successful bids for external grants we are able to carry out these major improvements, which will enhance the visitor experience and allow the gallery to be used to its full potential in the future.

“We apologise for any disruption or inconvenience caused to visitors during these works.

“The gallery is a historic building which has a place in many people’s hearts and we want to make these improvements to ensure it continues to be a much-loved asset for the people of Wolverhampton.”

The next phase of the improvements on the gallery will see the café moved to the ground floor, alongside a new kitchen area and education space.

It is anticipated this work will commence in spring.

The improvements programme is being funded by a £431,723 Arts Council England small capital grant in addition to £750,000 of borrowing from the council's capital budget - which will be paid back by income generated from the new café - and a £65,000 grant from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport's Wolfson Gallery Improvement Fund.

The UK’s leading feline welfare charity Cats Protection is calling on cat owners in the West Midlands to nominate their remarkable moggies for 2018’s prestigious National Cat Awards.

Now in its tenth year, the awards celebrate the difference cats make to owners’ lives by highlighting heart-warming stories of devotion, companionship and courage.

Entries open on Tuesday 9 January and owners have until noon on Friday 9 March to nominate their cat for one of five categories:

  • Hero Cat – Cats that save the day
  • Most Caring Cat – Cats that positively impact a person’s health or wellbeing
  • Furr-ever Friends – Tales of friendship between children and cats
  • Outstanding Rescue Cat – Fabulous felines adopted from animal charities
  • Purina® Better Together – Celebrating the special bond that has transformed and enriched the lives of both a feline and human
Category winners are then in the running to be named National Cat of the Year, following in the paw-prints of last year’s winner, Genie, a black-and-white cat from Lincoln who was honoured for the incredible support and inspiration she gave to 12-year-old Evie Henderson, who was battling bone cancer.

Evie, who is now on the road to recovery, said: “I missed her every day I was in hospital and my family could tell she missed me. She’s my best friend and is always there when I need her. I was so happy to win our category but to win the overall title as well was really amazing, incredible.”

Chizzy Akudolu, from Holby City and Strictly 2017, said: “As a cat owner myself, and having attended last year’s awards, I’ve seen first-hand what a tremendous difference they can make to people’s lives. So get nominating as this is their time to shine.”

A panel of celebrity cat-lovers has the hard job of selecting the deserving category winners as well as honouring this year’s National Cat of the Year. Sponsored by PURINA® for the seventh year, winners will be presented with a trophy and prizes at a star studded ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London on Thursday 2 August 2018.