Colors: Blue Color

The arbiters of social etiquette from Debretts may choke on their turkey with the news that millions of Brits planned to use their mobiles at the Christmas dinner table.  New research from Direct Line Home Insurance reveals 9.9 million people planned to use their mobile at the Christmas dinner table, swapping face time with family for games and screen time with faraway friends.

Christmas has come early for children in Sandwell thanks to a new £100,000 play area with lots of new equipment in historic Lightwoods Park. The play area features a giant two-tower climbing wall guaranteed to give youngsters fun during the school holidays. Schoolchildren from Abbey Junior School, local councillors, council parks officers and representatives from Heritage Building and Conservation Ltd attended the launch.

As New Year resolutions go, losing weight is a fairly ordinary one. But add to that skydiving and raising funds to support one day of end of life care and something quite extraordinary happens.  In January 2015, John Taylor Hospice CEO Kate Phipps set a sky-scraping personal fundraising target of £14,000 – enough to fund the hospice and all its services for 24 hours.

Record numbers of older people worried about being alone over Christmas have already contacted older people’s housing and care charity The Abbeyfield Society as its Coping at Christmas campaign gets into full swing. Since the campaign launch in November, Abbeyfield has handled hundreds of calls from isolated older people who face being alone over the extended Christmas period.

Sandwell Council’s foster carers have received a boost with a donations of toys for all ages from the congregation at Great Barr Methodist Church. Councillor Simon Hackett, Cabinet Member for Childrens Services, received the donations on behalf of Sandwell’s Looked After Children & Young People from Reverend Rachel Frank and members of the church congregation including Dorothy Clive and Hazel Powell.

A cheque for almost £30,000 has been presented to Birmingham Children’s Hospital following a successful year of fundraising by the NEC Group. NEC Group Chief Executive Paul Thandi presented the cheque for £29,260.66 at the Group’s annual Awards ceremony. “Birmingham Children’s Hospital does incredible work helping thousands of children and their families from across the West Midlands and beyond every year, and the NEC Group staff really got behind it as their chosen charity of the year.

Exciting crafts and tasty treats are being served up by Bilston Craft Gallery's new café. It has launched a pop-up Craft Café offering a family-friendly environment in which people can enjoy delicious home-made treats while trying out a wide range of creative activities. Visitors young and old can have a go at clay play, painting, ceramic painting and collage, with activities starting from just £3 per person.

Local choirs and bands from Birmingham raised nearly £500 by singing for shoppers and passers-by in Birmingham City Centre as part of Midlands-based national charity, Heart Research UK’s annual “Sing for your Heart” campaign. Hosted by Heart Research UK in the Midlands, the Brindleyplace event was led by the Sutton Coldfield Community Choir along with performances from the City of Birmingham Brass Band and Vivat! Choir.

Months of planning, dedication, hard work and vision were realised on Saturday 5th December 2015 at The Phoenix Newspaper 5th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at Bethel Convention Centre, West Bromwich. Backed by main sponsor McDonald’s, as well as Crownsway Insurance Brokers Limited, the cold day did nothing to chill the spirits of those present. The morning quiet was broken with the vibrant sounds of the Dhol Blasters heralding the arrival of HRH Nana Agyemang Nyamekye Amlak, the Aduana Head of Kwakye Dida Nsuta Ashanti in Ghana.

Renovation of run-down restrooms and the unveiling of a hidden burial ground will take centre stage in the next wave of Haringey Council’s improvements for Tottenham.Monument Way toilets improvements. Former public toilets on Monument Way have been earmarked for conversion into a new cafe or bar in a bid to bring the elegant unused Victorian building back into use.

Fresh from its triumphant year as European Green Capital 2015 – the only UK city ever to hold the title – Bristol is destined to remain in the spotlight during 2016 thanks to its dynamic programme of events and some exceptional new attractions, restaurants, and experiences. Here are some of the best reasons to visit the city in the year ahead.

Playing fields in the West Midlands are being protected against development, new data published has shown. The latest figures, compiled by Sport England, which works to safeguard playing fields for community use, show that 92 per cent of all resolved planning applications in the West Midlands involving a playing field in 2013/14 resulted in improved or secured facilities.

Three-fifths (62%) of older people in the Midlands say they feel more isolated and/or go out less in winter. Meanwhile, just under half (46%) of those aged 65 and over say they have gone to bed early to stay warm at least once. That’s according to a new survey by older people’s charity, Independent Age, to launch their new Winter Wise advice leaflet for older people, their families and carers.