Colors: Blue Color

As Meghan Markle opens up for the first time on her romance with Prince Harry one bookmaker are making it 6/4 that the couple will get engaged this year

And it’s 3/1 that they will tie the knot next year.

“We have had a lot of interest in odds on whether the couple would get engaged this year,” declared bookies, Betfred. “The article in Vanity Fair where she reveals how in love and happy they are together is sure to add to that interest and speculation that we can’t be far off another royal engagement and we have odds of 6/4 of that happening this year.

We also make it 3/1 that the couple will actually marry next year, which would make 2018 a huge year for the Royals following on from the news yesterday that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant and due around March or April next year.”

Young people from Sandwell have been busy during the summer creating contemporary artwork to go on display in Birmingham's Ikon Gallery.
Children from BLAST Youth Club in Wednesbury took part in a series of workshops working in partnership with Ikon Gallery and the Sidney Nolan Trust.
The workshops involved young people working with artists to learn new skills and produce their own works of art, with some being displayed at the Ikon Gallery in Brindley Place.
The exhibition is part of a summer long programme, at Ikon Gallery, dedicated to Sir Sidney Nolan to celebrate the work and legacy of the artist and to mark the centenary of his birth.
Workshops took place at various locations including the Ikon Gallery's Slow Boat which has been on loan to them from Sandwell Council for the past three years.
Councillor Danny Millard, youth champion at Sandwell Council went along to view the artwork and meet the group from BLAST Youth Club. He said: "As a youth worker I know how important it is to offer young people a variety of activities to take part in.
“I was so proud of the young people and they really were a credit to themselves and to Sandwell. It really goes to show what our young people can do and what they are capable of.”
Artwork from the group was on display over the first weekend in September.
Ikon Gallery plan to work with young people in Sandwell in the future as part of their ongoing youth programme with local budding artists.
Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services said: "It's great that a group of young people had the opportunity to work with Ikon Gallery and the Sidney Nolan Trust over the summer. I’m sure they've all gained a lot from the experience.
“We hope more young people from Sandwell will benefit from working with Ikon Gallery in the future.”
BLAST Youth Club, based on Wood Green Road runs sessions for young people 6pm to 8pm every Wednesday. For further details email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shocking research reveals 200,000 school kids* could lose access to breakfast at school due to slashed budgets and cuts.

Worrying findings released today revealed 43 per cent of teachers say their school breakfast club will have to close in the next three years – including those that operate in the most deprived parts of the UK.

In the report by Kellogg’s titled The future of school breakfast clubs: a funding crisis in the UK’ teachers were asked to list the reasons they fear their clubs will close: 86 per cent said school funding was the main reason.

Troubled teachers also told how the new requirement for extra staffing in clubs (44 per cent) will make them more difficult to run.

In a bid to keep the clubs open, a quarter (26 per cent) of schools have redirected funds from other parts of the school budget such as school trips, making staff cuts and buying fewer classroom resources.

Now some schools have also had to rely on donations from private companies, charities and parents.

Worried teachers warned the closure of their breakfast club will lead to a rise in naughty behaviour in the classroom (34 per cent) and worsen attendance (33 per cent).

More than a third (36 per cent) of teachers surveyed from schools with breakfast clubs that have already closed down said they have since noticed a decline in exam results following the closure.

John Coe from the National Association of Primary Education comments: “Breakfast clubs are at a critical point in their work and the overriding reason is that cuts to school funding over the next three years threaten the closing down of clubs which serve children and young people. The impact upon disadvantaged communities will be particularly severe.

“Teachers testify to the educational gains which stem from a healthy breakfast and the positive effect on school and family life has been confirmed by the Department for Education. Policy makers should listen and then take decisive action to provide financial support.”

Not only will schoolchildren be affected by these closures but working families will feel the impact also. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of parents say the absence of a breakfast club would mean at least one parent would be forced out of work.

David Lawlor, Kellogg’s managing director said: “Great progress has been made since the 1990s to increase the number of schools offering pupils a safe and fun environment that provides a nutritious breakfast. That’s why each year the Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Awards celebrate the fantastic people who make these clubs happen every day in schools up and down the country.

“But the future for these vital breakfast clubs is at risk. The challenge for schools, government and partners in private and third sectors is to ensure that we help to sustain as many pre-school clubs as possible. We will continue to offer grants to schools breakfast clubs because we believe that every child deserves the best start to the day.”


The much-anticipated African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) Gala Dinner event will be taking place September 16th , to celebrate 30 years of the charity serving the community.

As one of the longest surviving community based charities in the field of mental ill health, ACCI aims to develop, co-ordinate and deliver culturally appropriate and consistently high standards of supported care/advice for members of the African Caribbean community and their families affected by mental ill health.

The theme of the Gala event sponsored by; Paycare, The Good Patty Company, Firewalker gym is “The Journey” and will celebrate service members, long serving employees, carer groups and volunteers who’ve supported the charity over the years.

To mark the occasion, guests will be greeted on arrival to music from steel pan band, Mighty Jamma, followed by a two-course authentic Caribbean meal with feature performances from Lovers Rock singer, Peter Spence, Claire Angel, 2016 winner of Britain’s Got Reggae and top Jamaican comedian Penguin.

Alicia Spence, ACCI Centre Manager is excited about the 30 years celebration. She said: “The Gala event is a special day to look forward to, as the event has grown year on year attracting people from all over the West Midlands and become a prominent fixture in the ACCI calendar”

“It’s also great to see how much support we’ve had from local businesses such as; Accord Housing, Terrence Higgins Trust, EC Electrical Services and Higher Level World.”

The new Erdington Leisure Centre - designed to provide the whole community with a fresh, modern exercise and recreation venue - features a 25-metre swimming pool, a teaching pool, a 70-station gym and a community room/studio space.  A wide range of fitness classes as well as children’s holiday play activities and birthday parties will also be available.

The brand new building has taken just over a year to construct and is opening almost a month ahead of schedule and on budget. The £7.5million replacement of Erdington’s leisure centre is part of a city wide investment of nearly £40million by Birmingham City Council and is the first of four new complexes to be completed.

Birmingham Community Leisure Trust (BCLT), working in partnership with Birmingham City Council (BCC), has overseen the project and will manage the new centre once it opens its doors.

BCLT Chair, Brian Taylor, said: “The transformation of this Erdington site since we stood here last summer is truly impressive.  I am very proud to hand over such a high quality, purpose built facility to our community and I invite everyone, whatever their age and whatever sport they enjoy, to take the opportunity to come and use this brilliant new centre.

“We will be holding a special Open Day on Saturday 30 September when our great team based at Erdington Leisure Centre every day will be here to show you around, answer your questions about activities, classes and membership options and there will be many free events for you to sample what we have to offer.

“If you are yet to join the thousands of people keeping fit and healthy through regular exercise, I am confident there is every chance you will find what you are looking for here.”

Birmingham City Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Ian Ward added: “I am delighted that our residents in Erdington and the surrounding area now have a brand new leisure centre – ahead of schedule - and I thank our partners for working with us to provide cost effective and modern facilities.  Despite the considerable budgetary restraints we face, we will continue to support and encourage people to remain active and pursue a healthy lifestyle.”

Construction of replacement leisure centres is ongoing at Stechford and Northfield sites in the east and south of the city. A fourth centre at a new site at Icknield Port Loop in Edgbaston will be built and managed by BCLT. The Trust has also delivered a programme of refurbishments to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre; Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre; Beeches Leisure Centre and Wyndley Leisure Centre.

ISG Construction plc has undertaken the construction of the new leisure centres at Erdington, Stechford and Northfield to designs by Calderpeel Architects.

Erdington Leisure Centre is located on Orphanage Road, Erdington, Birmingham B24 9HU.

As tourism has become a powerful engine for the local economic and social development of cities, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has partnered with the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) to develop an instrument that can measure the performance of the sector in metropolitan areas. Under the title ‘UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research’ the project will include a set of criteria and a platform for information.

According to UN Habitat (2050, 70% of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities. By 2025, metropolitan areas will contribute over 30 trillion US dollars annually to the world economy. As tourism currently accounts as a central component in the economic, social and geographical development of many cities it is essential to monitor tourism performance in urban destinations and clearly address the areas for improvement. As stated by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, “city tourism should go hand by hand with sustainable development; preserving environmental treasures together with tangible and intangible heritage should be parallel to the importance of engaging local communities”.

The partnership between UNWTO and WTCF to measure city tourism will assist policy makers and all stakeholders in their efforts to take strategic action for better urban tourism governance and sustainable management.

The project includes research on City Tourism Performance collecting information about the existing systems to measure city tourism performance worldwide. A total of 16 cities located in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin American participated in the survey. The exercise will allow to define a set of criteria that can constitute the best possible assessment of city tourism performance at a reasonable cost.

“Cities provide an important vehicle for world tourism development. Launched in 2015, the UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research Programme has conducted a comprehensive analysis of 16 tourism cities in the world in the five areas:  destination management, economic perspective, social and cultural perspectives, environmental perspective as well as technology & new business models. The findings offer very useful guidance for promoting sustainable development in cities around the world,” said the Secretary General of WTCF, Song Yu.

Applying the UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research Survey requires involving different stakeholders’ groups. Data is collected at the city level by the tourism experts identified by UNWTO and WTCF. Some of the performance criteria can be collected from the official data sources from cities such as Census and household surveys although expert interviews are necessary to have a more in-depth understanding of each city.

The detailed survey, used by the experts, provides a detailed description of all performance criteria and includes a data collection sheet and a questionnaire tailor-made for interviews with representatives of the main stakeholder groups.

The results of the research conducted in the Asia-Pacific Region were presented last weekend in Tianjin, China and later this month on 26 September in Buenos Aires, Argentina a second workshop will discuss the results of the Latin American cities, aiming to create a platform to give recommendations to those cities on the selected key performance areas and to give general indications to all cities on recent challenges in urban tourism.

The 16 different city cases will be compiled in a publication free of charge on the UNWTO website which will serve as a guideline on how cities can improve their future implementation of tourism development.

The transformation of Tottenham’s High Road West – with thousands of new homes, new jobs, new community facilities and a landmark civic square designed in partnership with local residents – could soon be underway following years of community participation in shaping the ambitious plans.

Haringey Council’s Cabinet will next week (Tuesday 12 September) discuss a recommendation to choose regeneration experts Lendlease as the preferred bidder to deliver local people’s ambitions for the area.

The announcement follows more than five years of community engagement and consultation, which has seen residents’ vision placed at the heart of a masterplan for the area through a Resident Charter and Residents’ Design Panel and design guide. Residents have also been involved in the 18-month competitive procurement process to select Lendlease as the preferred bidder to take the scheme forward.

The importance of the High Road West scheme, which covers the area opposite the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium development, has also been highlighted by the Mayor of London, who has contributed £62million funding to support the ambitious scheme as part of the wider regeneration of north Tottenham.

Highlights include:

  • More than 2,500 homes, with at least 750 affordable homes
  • 191 high-quality, safe replacement homes for existing council tenants and resident leaseholders, meeting the aspirations of their Resident Charter
  • A cutting edge new library and learning centre
  • 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
It is proposed that Haringey Council takes on the ownership of replacement housing for council tenants once it is built, keeping the new homes under council management, in line with existing residents’ wishes.

Sandwell Leisure Trust’s Smethwick Swimming Centre (SSC) on Thimblemill Road recently benefited from a £120,000 investment to upgrade the fitness equipment and uplift the gym area itself.

Several new best-of-class cardio products have been installed - including an IC7 spin bike, Cybex Sparc trainer (for fat loss and strength building) and Concept 2 Ski Erg (based on Nordic skiing) – which were all a first for the West Midlands.

New equipment from the premium LifeFitness Elevation range is also available, which features the latest ‘Discover Cardio’ consoles offering touch screen console technology for TV and app compatibility - to track progress, access personalized workouts and serve as an in-workout display.

Lynda Bateman, Chair of Sandwell Leisure Trust Board, explains: “We are committed to investing to provide an excellent range of quality fitness facilities at Sandwell’s sport and leisure centres for all our members and local residents to enjoy, keeping them healthy and helping them achieve personal targets and goals.”

Cllr Richard Marshall, Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, adds: “We are delighted to work in partnership with SLT and to see the continued investment here in Smethwick paying dividends. Sandwell Council has made significant investment in new sport and leisure facilities in Sandwell and we work hard with all our partners to find new ways to get more people active in the borough.’

The initial investment also included a brand new sauna as well as new floors, toilets and showers to compliment the facility and offer members a complete leisure experience. It was delivered in partnership with Sven Saunas Ltd who is the leading provider of saunas to the leisure industry.

An additional £50,000 was spent on transforming a previously under-utilised meeting room into a new state-of-the-art spin studio (which opened earlier this month) also with IC7 bikes and a MyRide virtual indoor cycling system that allows first timers and experienced spinners alike to experience world level classes with and without an instructor.

SSC Centre Manager Sean Ryan adds: “We’re very keen to offer members more variety and scope and spin classes were certainly in demand, but with literally no further space to utilise in the studio we decided to overhaul the meetings room that was only used for internal gatherings and an occasional member of the public hire.

“With the additional spin members it will bring this extra new facility won’t take long to pay for itself either, plus we’re fully delivering on our pledge of enhancing the customer experience.”

Next up is a £5,000 facelift spend on the popular dance studio – resulting in a total spend of £175,000 to make Smethwick Swimming Centre one of the very best leisure facilities around.

World-class esports have a new home in the entertainment capital of the world. Blizzard Entertainment today unveiled Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, a cutting-edge live-event destination for pro players, esports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition. Situated in the legendary Burbank Studios, once home to groundbreaking television shows, the studio at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles has been custom-tailored to support an exciting live-event experience for local attendees and broadcast audiences around the world. When the Arena opens for business on October 7, top competitors from across Blizzard esports will be the newest stars to shine on one of the most celebrated stages in television history.

“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.”

With multiple sound stages, control rooms, and practice facilities, Blizzard Arena Los Angeles was built to support a full slate of competitive events year-round. In addition, the Burbank, California arena will house a Blizzard retail store that rotates stock for event attendees based on the competitions taking place at the time.

Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will open its doors to the public for the first time on the weekend of October 7–8 with the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs taking center stage. The culmination of a summer of formidable European and North American competition, the Overwatch Contenders Playoffs will crown the top Contenders teams in each region.

Beginning October 13, the Hearthstone® Championship Tour’s Summer Championship will bring top-notch Hearthstone pros to the Arena for a full weekend of competition, with $250,000 on the line. The global tournament will conclude the third act of the HCT and set the table for the Hearthstone World Championship, taking place in early 2018.

The early battles of both the Heroes of the Storm® Global Championship (HGC) Finals and World of Warcraft® Arena Championship will be held at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in late October, with top Heroes of the Storm and WoW® Arena players looking to fight their way onto the championship stages at BlizzCon®, Blizzard’s annual community celebration in Anaheim, California, taking place November 3–4.

Then, later this year, some of the top Overwatch® players in the world will take their first steps toward stardom at the Arena when the Overwatch League opens a new era in professional esports. With the players leading the way, the city-based franchises of the Overwatch League have their sights set on establishing a new standard for esports excellence.

Two more stars are set to be inducted into Wolverhampton’s Sporting Hall of Fame during a celebratory event later this month.

Trevor Gadd and Professor Peter Radford have represented Wolverhampton in cycling and athletics respectively and appeared for their country at both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

They will be the latest big names to be included in Wolverhampton’s Sporting Hall of Fame, launched by the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton City Sports Advisory Council in 1999 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of sportsmen and women who have represented Wolverhampton on an international stage.

The chair of Wolverhampton’s Sports Advisory Council, Peter Holmes MBE, said: “We are delighted to be inducting two more inspirational Wulfrunians into our Sporting Hall of Fame.

“Trevor and Peter are both individuals who have performed with great success on a world stage and have been true ambassadors of everything that is good about the City of Wolverhampton.”

Trevor Gadd was a member of Wolverhampton Wheelers Cycling Club and began competitive racing in 1975 when he won his first bronze medal in the British National Championships.

Representing Great Britain and England at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, he went on to dominate track cycling in the 1970s.

Runner Peter Radford spent his early years training at Aldersley Stadium where he was coached by Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club.

He went on to set numerous world records in 50m, 100m and 200m races and won medals while representing his country at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. He achieved this despite having been in a wheelchair as a child due to a serious illness.

This ceremony will take place on Saturday 23 September at WV Active Aldersley, where the Sporting Hall of Fame’s books and honours boards are displayed.

Previous inductees include athlete Denise Lewis, racing driver Richard Atwood and Wolverhampton Wanderers legends Bert Williams and Billy Wright.

Councillor Steve Evans, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “The City of Wolverhampton has a long history of producing top level sportspeople and we are delighted to celebrate their achievements through our Sporting Hall of Fame, which is proudly held at WV Active Aldersley.

“I would like to congratulate Trevor and Peter on their successes, and welcome them into Wolverhampton’s Sporting Hall of Fame.”

Tipton library will be hosting its sixth annual local history day later this month when they will remember friend of the library Alf Breakwell who passed away earlier this year.

Everyone is invited to the event on Saturday 23 September between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Exhibitions on show will include a selection of images from the Palethorpes archive plus stalls, a cake sale and a talk about the history of local firm Walters Funerals.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure Councillor Richard Marshall said: “Alf was 91. He was a member of the Tipton Home Guard and a regular visitor to the library where he always brought a home-made sponge cake in to share

“As a tribute, the local history group are hosting the Breakwell Bake Off - a cake competition to find the best sandwich cake or loaf cake in the area.”

Entry forms are available from all Tipton libraries and Alf’s son and daughter will be on the judging panel.

Authors Carol Hathorne and Joanne Webster will be launching their new books at the event and live music will be provided by the Scarbelly Blues Band.

Community library manager Robert Hazel added: “The Friends of the library are encouraging local people to come in and share their old school photos for an exhibition next year called ‘Days of Our Lives’.

“There will be other community stalls and a home-made cake stall – so come along and enjoy a bostin day.”

Despite 46% of millennials moving rental property on average every three to four years, new research shows this age group are investing in mobile gardens that can be easily transported in an Uber - a practical and rewarding solution to many who may be destined to a lifetime of renting.

The study of over 2,000 people commissioned by gardening brand, Miracle-Gro found that for 53% of millennials in Birmingham, renting actively encourages them to create a garden so they can make their space ‘more of their own’. 39% are also driven by the desire to have an area to relax and rewind.

To this end, of Birmingham’s Generation Rent, 29% have reported they have created a mobile garden in their leased property - across spaces as varied as balconies, rooftops and courtyards – with a further 31% of this audience considering one for the future.

The most frequently purchased garden items amongst the 18-34s are flowers and plants followed by vegetables and herbs. 21% in Birmingham are growing plants or vegetables from seed, which shows the large proportion of millennials who are green-fingered, with the knowledge and initiative to tend to a garden. Birmingham dwellers are more likely to invest in clean air plants (20%) than the national average (18%), considering their urban environment.

Millennials in the UK put more value on having access to a garden or a balcony than older age groups. 18-34s in Birmingham are prepared to spend £123 on average on top of their current rent each month. In comparison, the 45-55s would spend just half of this (£62). 18-34s in Birmingham on average also invest £120 each year on buying plants.

Rental properties are more likely to give younger people the chance to develop a garden. Getting a foot on the property ladder, whilst highly advantageous for the long term, means that 18-34s will often be forced to downsize to a property where there is no access to any form of outside space in the short term.

Jo Weston from Miracle-Gro, comments: “In other parts of Europe where rental for life is the norm, gardens in smaller spaces are more widespread. It’s interesting to see with the rising trend of Generation Rent in the UK, a desire to create green space is becoming more popular, even more so than those who own a property. Research tells us that access to a garden or outside space has real benefits to mental health, and just because you rent doesn’t mean you should miss out on this. Mobile gardens can be created easily and on a budget.”

If you’re unlucky in love, you’re not alone. According to new research from Badoo, the world’s largest dating app, Brits suffer 2 million bad first dates per year, equating to 14,728 years frittered away because of love disasters.

When it comes to the why, the study reveals that that poor conversational skills, manners, a lack of humour and not resembling your profile picture are some of the biggest dating turn-offs.

Polite Brits are prepared to endure an average of 1 hour 32 minutes on a disappointing first date. While a staggering one in twelve are courteous enough to give up at least 3 hours of their time on an encounter that’s destined to go nowhere.

When it comes to first date turns offs, women are more likely to be put off by a lack of humour in men, with nearly a third (32 per cent) citing it as the reason for a bad date compared to 19 per cent of men.

More than double the amount of men however, place more emphasis on how their date speaks, with 11 per cent citing this as the reason for a bad first date in contrast to only 6 per cent of women.

Going on a date weighs heavy on our mind, with nearly a third of Brits (31 per cent) pulling the plug on a first date because of doubts. For millennials especially, the study reveals a ‘catfishing crisis’, with over half of 16 – 34 years (51 per cent) admitting they suffered first date jitters in fear of discovering fake online profiles.

Daters in Edinburgh are the most hesitant with 72 per cent suffering first date doubts. Singletons in Sheffield are the least doubtful when it comes to dating, with less than half (46 per cent) uncertain about whether to meet up.

More details of the free HeadStart Wolverhampton autumn conference – featuring a range of big name guest speakers including mental health campaigner Ruby Wax OBE – have been revealed.

Free tickets can be booked now for the conference, which takes place at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Tuesday 3 October.

Aimed at teachers, health professionals and voluntary sector staff who work with children and young people, it will focus on how they can help young people improve their resilience and emotional wellbeing and avoid developing mental health issues.

Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "The HeadStart Wolverhampton conference promises to be an amazing free event and offers a golden opportunity for teachers, health professionals and voluntary sector staff to contribute to the mental health debate.

“We are particularly delighted that keynote speakers of the calibre of Ruby Wax OBE, Paul McGee and Dr Pooky Knightsmith will be joining us on the day, making this event a must for anyone who works with children and young people.

“We hope it will deliver our anti-stigma agenda while also infecting those present with our determination to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of children and young people. We want frontline professionals to take the learning and innovative ideas being talked about at the conference back into their work with local children and young people who in turn will benefit.”

She added: “HeadStart Wolverhampton wants as many local educational, health and voluntary sector workers as possible to be able to participate in this great event and, following approval from Big Lottery, they are delighted to announce that all conference tickets are now free.

“Given the incredible line-up of speakers, workshops and other attractions, this is an opportunity not to be missed and I would encourage people to book their places as soon possible to avoid disappointment.”

The top-class line-up of guest speakers promises a mix of academic expertise, accessible advice and real-life experience. Ruby Wax OBE has used her own experiences of depression to break down the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues, Paul McGee developed the SUMO (Stop, Understand, Move On) approach to resilience, and Dr Pooky Knightsmith is a respected mental health ambassador, educator and director at the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.

The varied conference programme, developed by HeadStart Wolverhampton in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Young Minds and Time to Change, will also feature a market place and six themed workshops, and will conclude with a community showcase giving delegates the chance to meet some of the programme’s young people.

As children across the UK go back to school and Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has identified an alarming trend which sees some families hand their dogs into rescue centres as soon as their children go back to school.  Last year, on September 5th, the start of the new school year, the charity recorded one of the highest number of calls on any one day of the year. Dogs Trust were asked to take in 220 dogs; double the number of calls the charity usually receives from struggling dog owners on an average day.

With some owners giving up their dogs due to the return to the working routine and juggling the school run after the summer holidays, Dogs Trust is encouraging owners to bring their dogs to training classes, to help overcome any issues. Sadly, the welfare charity is also seeing instances of dogs being  given up because they have been bought to entertain the children over the summer and are no longer needed when the new school year begins .

Maria Wickes, Head of Dogs Trust Dog School, explains: “Sadly it does seem to be a recurring trend that we see more dogs handed into us as soon as  children go back to school. In many cases dogs are not equipped to deal with this change in routine and may start displaying undesirable behaviour. We hope that anyone struggling to control their dog’s behaviour after the summer holidays will consider giving them up a last resort and instead send them “ Bark to School” and sign up for training classes.”

Maria adds: “In extreme cases we are finding people even buy dogs simply to keep their children occupied during the holidays . Gus, a nine-month-old Cockapoo, was handed into us because his owners bought him to entertain the children during the summer holidays and then passed him to us for rehoming when the kids weren’t around during the day anymore.  Whilst the majority of dog owners regard their dogs as valued family members, it appears some may be using dogs as four-legged nannies over the holidays and disregarding them come September. We hope people will remember that a dog is for life and carefully consider this lifetime commitment before purchasing a dog.”

Birmingham has been chosen ahead of Liverpool as the recommended city for England’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Having won in a tight race to win the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s backing, the UKs second city must now convince the government to approve the bid and underwrite the event’s costs.

The Department’s backing of the West Midlands city means it now has to convince the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that it should stage the event.

In a statement, Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch, said: “I am grateful to the bid teams from both cities for their hard work in making the case as potential Commonwealth Games hosts.

Now, after a comprehensive assessment process, the government will look at the final bid proposal from Birmingham and decide if a formal bid will be submitted to the CGF.

The UK has fantastic expertise in hosting the biggest events in sport, as recently showcased at the London 2017 World Para Athletics and IAAF World Championships, and if we are to bid and are selected to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 I have no doubt that Birmingham would host an excellent sporting spectacle.”

Former BBC athletics commentator and Commonwealth gold medallist Brendan Foster said he was "delighted but not surprised" Birmingham had been chosen.

"It's the right time, in the right place, in a city that has all the facilities in place," said the founder of the Great North Run, who was part of the bid team.

The city's proposal to create the UK's largest permanent athletics stadium supplemented by four indoor arenas was central to its bid.

The plan is for the Alexander Stadium to be expanded from its current capacity of 13,000 to 20,000, with 25,000 additional seats for the Games itself. This will make the Perry Barr venue, already the home of UK Athletics, the largest, permanent athletics track in the country, and it is also intended to be used for other sports, concerts and conferences.

In a statement, the chair of Birmingham’s bid committee said: “This is a great endorsement by the UK government of Birmingham’s credentials to host the Games and recognition of the city’s resolve to deliver a memorable event.

However, this is not the end of the journey and we look forward to working with the government as it makes its final decision to support a UK candidate city.”

Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is likely to be the main rival after Durban was stripped of the event in March.

The South African city originally won the bidding process in 2015 but the CGF was not convinced it could successfully host the event and started a search for a new host city.

Submissions from candidate cities need to be received by September 30 and its executive board is expected to make its decision by the end of the year.