Colors: Blue Color

To mark the official opening ceremony of this summer’s major sporting event, Victorian Arcade in Walsall hosted its very own carnival celebrations. The event brought true Brazilian style to the town as the centre played host to a variety of colourful salsa stilt walkers who entertained shoppers with their impressive circus skills. The shopping centre also supplied an all-round entertainer as well as a full steel band and face painter to help bring some South American sunshine to Walsall.

Over a third of working families in the West Midlands could not afford to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job, new figures from Shelter reveal today. With little or no personal savings to fall back on, the Shelter and YouGov study found that this means a staggering 313,000 working families in the region could be just one paycheque away from losing their home.

It stands to reason in the digital age that people would prefer to read on a Kindle, smartphone or tablet when on holiday, saving space in their suitcase and taking advantage of cut-price deals on books. But a survey undertaken by RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) has revealed that almost half (46 per cent) of Birmingham residents prefer to stick to the old-fashioned way, choosing to read paperbacks or hardbacks on holiday.

British dogs are increasingly well travelled, with one-in-10 (10 per cent) owners taking their pet abroad, according to new research from Direct Line Pet Insurance.  Over a third (38 per cent) of British vets have reported an increase in demand for pet passports over the last 12 months, handing out an average 26 dog passports and an average six cat passports in the last 12 months.

Over one hundred giant bear sculptures will be leaving their paw prints all over Birmingham next summer, as the city gets set to be known as Bear-mingham in 2017. Following the flying success of The Big Hoot, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and creative producers Wild in Art have announced that a second trail is planned for summer 2017, but this time the colourful characters will be sun bears instead of owls.

It is not too late for rural communities across the UK to apply to have reliable, indoor 3G mobile coverage and internet access from Vodafone installed at their local community centre. Whether it is for an independent or community run pub and shop, village hall, scout hut, doctor’s surgeries or visitor centre, mobile coverage is provided through Vodafone’s Community Indoor Sure Signal (CISS) programme and is open to up to 100 rural community hubs.

Hundreds of vulnerable Telecare users have been helped and supported by firefighters who are responding to non-emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The City of Wolverhampton Council commissioned West Midlands Fire Service to provide its mobile Telecare response service in April this year. It sees trauma-trained firefighters responding quickly to non-emergency calls – such as minor falls – from Telecare users across the city.

A unique project capturing people’s memories of food using images and artefacts from Wolverhampton Art Gallery is being published. For the past two years older people have been meeting once a month at the Lichfield Street gallery as part of a reminiscence group to talk about food. The end result is a thought-provoking online book, which captures the city’s past as well as lots of happy shared memories about cooking, eating and drinking.

The bid to transform West Smethwick Park with a £5million restoration scheme has come a step closer. The council has confirmed a £550,000 contribution towards the makeover, which will see the park get a new community pavilion, events area and refurbished toilets - plus improvements to sports pitches and new gym equipment. The council’s cabinet approved the funding at a meeting last week.

An important step in securing the future of Hornsey Town Hall has been taken after Haringey Council accepted the final bids for a programme that will secure a long-term and sustainable future for the historic building. Haringey Council will assess all bids before making a final recommendation to its Cabinet by the end of this year. The bidders are being assessed on strict criteria including community use, business plan and planning strategy.  

Dogs have been cast in a variety of starring roles over the years: from their first cinema appearance in the 1894 film Athlete with Wand to the Hollywood classic Lassie Come Home, where the eponymous dog embarks on a journey to her Yorkshire home. And that is the very same location in which a little Yorkshire Terrier will today add another string to the dog's venerable bow of feats in front of the camera: by becoming the world's first canine travel show presenter.

A programme to train volunteers in supporting the delivery of language provision for those who have English as a second language in Wolverhampton is reaping rewards. City of Wolverhampton Council teamed up with Wolverhampton Adult Education Services to set up the project, working with city organisations like The Haven, Epic Café, Refugee & Migrant Centre and Aspiring Futures.

More than a third (39%) of Brits have noticed an increase in unusual bugs and insects not common in the UK, crawling around their homes and gardens and nearly a quarter (24%) have been bitten or stung more in the past year. So, it’s no wonder that as a nation, we have some interesting ways of dealing with these unwelcome critters, according to a new survey by Anthisan Bite & Sting Cream.

Rural crime cost the Midlands £6.6m in 2015, up from £6m in 2014 – despite remaining broadly static at a national level. The figures form part of NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report, published today, revealing that the cost of rural crime to the UK economy has now reached £42.5 million a year. According to the leading rural insurer, the items most commonly targeted by thieves across the Midlands over the last 12 months were machinery, tools from farms and businesses and quad bikes (ATVs).

The owner of a raucous rooster has been forced to fork out nearly £600 after the farmyard animal’s constant crowing kept neighbours awake at night for months on end. Magdalane Sylvester, of Effingham Road, Harringay, was forced to pay out £597 after she was convicted in her absence of breaching a noise abatement order. Neighbours had been complaining for 18 months about being kept awake by the bird and, despite many efforts from the council to resolve the problem, Ms Sylvester did not make any attempts to ensure other residents weren’t disturbed.

Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham is one of the very best in the UK – and that’s official.  The therapeutic community garden is among a record-breaking 1,686 parks and green spaces that receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space. The award, now celebrating its 20th year, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country.