Colors: Blue Color

People are being asked to have their say and help shape a new strategy which seeks to continue the good work being done to tackle youth and gang violence in Wolverhampton. Over the last few years, the city's existing Reducing Gang Related Harm Strategy has helped to greatly improve the lives of those communities blighted by gangs, bringing about a fall in gun and knife crime in the process.

The Commonwealth-wide Youth Worker of the Year for 2015 has been awarded to Victor Ochen, founder of the African Youth Initiative Network, a Ugandan NGO that works to empower young people to promote democratic leadership and civic engagement in communities that have faced conflict. On receiving his award, Victor said: “I am very grateful for the recognition from the Commonwealth.

Action for Children’s annual Byte Night event has raised more than £1 million to help vulnerable children and young people living in the Midlands and across the UK. More than 200 technology and business experts in the Midlands bedded down for the night on St Paul’s Square in Birmingham on 2 October, joining almost 1,200 people across the UK for the challenge of sleeping rough to raise vital funds for the charity.

An awards ceremony has been held to honour members of the public from across the West Midlands region who have gone beyond the call of duty to help save lives and support the work of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s 4,500 staff.

Community groups in Sandwell can apply for funding to help people stay fit and healthy.  Grants of up to £5,000 are now available from Sandwell Council and can be spent on new or existing sports facilities in the borough. As part of its drive to boost levels of physical activity, the council has introduced Community Activity Network Development Officers (CANDO) in each of Sandwell’s six towns.

The final brick was laid last week at a £9 million development that will enable more older people in Haringey with care needs to live independently in their own homes. Protheroe House, on Chestnut Road, Tottenham, is a brand new development with 50 flats designed to enable independent living with the safety net of high quality personal care and support provided by a specialist on-site team.

Another open space in Haringey is now officially flying the flag of quality, after the prestigious Green Flag was raised in Queen’s Wood. The Friends of Queen’s Wood gathered with the council, other park users and volunteers to celebrate the raising of the flag, which follows an announcement in the summer that the green space would receive the nationally-recognised status.

Shelter analysis of government statistics reveals that over 2,400 children will wake up homeless this Christmas day in the West Midlands - a rise of 10% in the last year.  And worryingly, with councils feeling the pressure of our affordable housing shortage, the number of families across Britain living in B&Bs – accommodation which is often cramped and unsafe for children – has more than trebled over the last five years.

Housing chiefs and the police have used new powers for the first time to close down a property which has been a hot bed of anti-social behaviour. The City of Wolverhampton Council, supported by West Midlands Police and Wolverhampton Homes, secured a closure order against the property in Parkfields, following concerns over drug use and other issues.

Special guest Sir Lenny Henry CBE was the star at West Midlands housing association Nehemiah UCHA’s 10th birthday celebrations of its retirement scheme Henry Court, Charlton St, Dudley recently. The Dudley-born comedian, actor and writer Sir Lenny opened the retirement housing scheme back in 2005 and the scheme was named in honour of his mum Winifred, who was a member of the congregation of The Church of God of Prophecy, the founders of Nehemiah UCHA.

Thirty-three-year-old Lee of Castle Vale challenged people to nominate middle names for him and then picked the winner out of a box. With more than 100 names ranging from Princess Tallulah and Danger-Mouse to Big Poppa and ‘have a nice day’, the stakes were high.

A Wolverhampton charity that encourages people with sight loss to take part in activities such as water ski-ing and rock wall climbing has been awarded a £4,000 grant by the West Brom building society. The Beacon Centre is using the funding to further its ActivEyes programme, which facilitates participation in a variety of leisure and social activities.