Colors: Blue Color

A Wolverhampton business is being helped with its expansion plans by the council’s business growth team after securing a £1 million contract from the city’s Sunbeam development.

Kalsun Aluminium is supplying the specialist windows, which have a noise-reducing acoustic skin, for the renovation of the landmark building off Penn Road Island.

Wolverhampton-born developer Liam Wordley is in the final few months of a £12.5 million, four-year project to convert the historic Sunbeam factory into a mixture of 117 one to six-bedroom apartments.

Kalsun Aluminium has already manufactured and fitted 493 windows and 13 doors containing 2,672 glass units, with a further 150 windows and 40 doors to be delivered.

The company’s success saw them relocate six months ago, from a 2,500 sq ft premises in Sunbeam Street, Graiseley, to a 10,000 sq ft factory unit in Shaw Road, Blakenhall.

Kuldeep Burmi, Kalsun Aluminium managing director, said: “This is one of our biggest contracts and the help we have had from the council’s business support team has helped us progress.

“They have helped us recruit more staff and put in place the right policies and procedures to enable us to win further contracts – I’m very pleased with the help we have received.”

Liam, aged 38, added: “It’s great to see Kuldeep’s business grow alongside the Sunbeam development.

“He offers a fantastic product and it has been great to see Kalsun Aluminium flourish and grow in stature.

“I’m always keen to support local businesses and this has given the company confidence to look at bigger contracts and shown businesses can trust what they do.

“The response to the Sunbeam development has been amazing. We currently have around 60 occupiers who view it as a vibrant, modern place to live and we hope to complete the final phases over the next few months.”

Forty-two-year-old Kuldeep from Parkfields revealed Kalsun Aluminium is also supplying the glass units for Vauxhall’s London showroom in Romford, and is hoping to capitalise on future contracts associated with HS2.

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The Sunbeam project highlights exactly how regeneration in the city is benefiting local people and businesses.

“To see this historic city centre landmark being brought back to life is fantastic and to know it has helped a Wolverhampton company expand and take on more workers is the icing on the cake.

“It is also hugely satisfying to see the excellent business support structure in the Black Country - accessed through the council and a wide-range of partners and programmes such as the AIM programme – is helping.”

The council is providing business support through ERDF-funded programme AIM (Black Country Advice Investment and Markets), helping with growth potential, inward investment, and market development.

AIM pools the resources of the four Black Country local authorities, University of Wolverhampton, and Black Country Chamber of Commerce, to provide specialist consultancy to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) via the Black Country Growth Hub.

Dog owners across the region have been sharing their thoughts on leaving their pet pooch home alone in a survey commissioned by Lintbells.

Over half of those surveyed in the West Midlands typically leave their dog alone during the working day and almost 70% admit to feeling bad about it. To make up for it, over half of the owners surveyed take their dog for an extra-long walk when they get home.

Owners that do leave their dogs at home during the day often leave the radio or TV on for their pets whilst out. 45% admit to feeling as bad, or worse, about leaving their dog home alone compared to their teenage children.

Alethea Maillard, Marketing Manager at Lintbells, producers of the YuCALM supplement proven to keep furry friends happy at home, said: “People say dogs are man’s best friend, and it seems that really is the case.

“No owner wants to leave their dog alone but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  As a result, it seems many are finding different ways to try and make sure their dog doesn’t end up feeling lonely while they are out. It just goes to show how much we love our pets.”

The national study of 2,000 dog owners found that more than a fifth have allowed their dog to sleep next to them in bed to make up for not being around while more than one in ten have even given them a steak dinner. One in ten have also taken time off work or dodged social events to keep their pooch company.

Dog behavioural expert Dr. Emily Blackwell PhD, CCAB, senior lecturer in Companion Animal Welfare, said: “Leaving dogs alone should be a normal experience for both owners and their pets, and shouldn’t be something to worry about. It is vital to introduce this time alone for your dog from a very young age so that it becomes a normal part of life.

“There is a lot of useful advice out there to help owners. Giving dogs a special treat when they are left alone can be a great way of making time alone fun, however if the dog doesn’t eat the treat, it can be a sign that it is anxious. Leaving nice toys and treats can also help owners feel less worried about leaving their pet.”

The Help for Heroes (H4H) Recovery Centre in Colchester recently welcomed a special guest.  Comedian Sean Kelly, star of TV’s Storage Hunters, popped into Chavasse VC House for a tour of the facilities; he even brought his co-stars Green Mile and T-Money.

    Sean, who was in the army himself, is currently on a stand-up tour of the UK. The audience are encouraged to bring in items for auction after the show and all proceeds are being donated to H4H. Sean talked candidly about why he chose to support the charity during his recent visit:

    “I suffered from post-traumatic stress following my service in Iraq during the early nineties but there were no organisations like H4H at the time. My wife helped me as much as she could but I needed so much more help. I felt like I was battling it alone. I would find myself driving along and the next thing I’d be on the side of the road crying my eyes out. I couldn’t remember how I got there. I also had nightmares which tortured me for a long time”.

    Life is very different now though and Sean is determined that nobody else should have to go through that alone. He had some words of encouragement for those who have been wounded, injured or have become sick whilst in service and are struggling:

    “Please just pick up the phone and ask for some help; don’t go it alone. I liken it to combat. You’re not expected to go it alone then. When you’re in a unit everyone has a job and when one goes down others come to their aid. You didn’t go it alone in Iraq or Afghanistan so you shouldn’t be going it alone once home. If you’re feeling down then there are people who will reach out to you. The sooner you do so then the sooner you will recover”.

    Chavasse VC House, inspires, enables and supports those who are wounded, injured or sick while serving our country, encouraging them to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives, while also supporting their loved ones. With an adaptive gym, an award winning reflective garden (Hope on the Horizon), a Support Hub made up of multiple charities and other organisations, psychological well-being suite, en-suite bedrooms, family rooms and a creative studio, the Centre has been specially designed to offer the very best recovery environment.

    Sean said: “The Recovery Centre in Colchester is a fabulous facility. It’s nice to know that for those men and women who come home from combat that there’s a clean, professional and well-staffed facility where they can get the help that they need and deserve. It’s also nice to know that every time we’re on stage entertaining that we’re doing it with a purpose. We’re helping people we may never meet but whom we have a connection to; because we know what they’ve gone though”.

The rest of the tour will take Sean and team to: Crewe, Northampton, Folkestone, Harlow, Leeds, Crawley, Bury-St-Edmunds, Exeter, Yeovil, Truro, Swansea, Brighton, Wolverhampton, Swindon, Aldershot and Birmingham.

85% of vets report that either they or a member of their team have felt intimidated by a client’s language or behaviour, according to statistics revealed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to mark National Work Life Week (2 - 6 October).

Veterinary teams are experiencing a high level of intimidation from clients bringing their animals into practices across the UK, according to the survey of more than 1,600 BVA members. While around half of vets have felt threatened by their clients’ actions or language many vets commented that support staff such as receptionists often bear the brunt of threatening behaviour.

Those vets who work with companion animals or in a mixed practice are particularly likely to have experienced difficult clients with 89% reporting some form of intimidating experience. Younger vets and female vets were significantly more likely to have experienced some form of intimidation.

BVA’s survey revealed that animal owners’ intimidating language and behaviour is often related to the cost of treatment, with 98% of vets saying that at some time they feel under pressure from clients to waive fees or to accept the promise of late payment.

President of the British Veterinary Association, John Fishwick, said:

“It’s concerning to see the figures around challenging client behaviour and fees, especially when vets, vet nurses and other members of the veterinary team are just, like any of us, trying to do their job. Owning an animal is an important responsibility and, with no NHS for animals, the reality is that owning a pet will cost tens of thousands of pounds over its lifetime. In order to help understand costs, it’s important to ensure a two-way vet/client discussion about the treatment options available, and the potential costs involved, so clients can make a decision that is right for them and their pet in collaboration with their vet. When you break down the total costs, vet fees offer value for money, covering not only the healthcare and treatment they provide for animals, but the vet team’s time and expertise, the necessary technology and equipment used, and the overheads of running the practice itself.”

President of the British Veterinary Nursing Association, Sam Morgan, said

“We understand there can be a lot of distress when pets are ill and deciding the best course of action for a loved pet or sick animal can be very difficult. However, this is no excuse to be aggressive or intimidating to a member of the veterinary team. Animal welfare is at the heart of our work and we are always working towards getting the very best possible result for the animal’s health. We hope that by building awareness around intimidating behaviour in National Work Life Week we can start to address this issue.”

A new coffee shop that will work with those affected by drugs and alcohol, mental health issues and homelessness has received a £5,300 funding pledge from Haringey Council.

The team behind the innovative Shine Cafe launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to set up the spot in Turnpike Lane, and needed a final boost to reach their £28,763 target.

The cafe – run by Shine Enterprise Centre – will help train local people experiencing difficulties with drugs, alcohol, homelessness and mental health issues in the art of coffee-making. This will help them to find employment, build skills and confidence, and provide a social hub for the community.

Kevin Farrell, from Shine, said:

Finding employment and developing new skills while you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, homeless or struggling with mental health difficulties is particularly difficult. We want to provide the space and support for people facing difficulties to be trained in working in and eventually running a cafe, as well as contributing to the local economy.

Shine have already found their first trainee and plan to host regular courses for future trainees.

The cafe will be operated as a social enterprise, reinvesting profits back into the business and the community and ensuring a sustainable source of training and employment in Haringey.

A range of people pitched in to raise the cash, which included £9,000 from the Greater London Authority. The public helped to get the coffers up to £23,463, and the council added the final £5,300. As the campaign is all-or-nothing, all the funds raised would have been lost if they did not hit the full £28,763 target.

Cllr Joe Goldberg, Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Sustainability, said:

Shine Cafe will not only offer a great support for those who need it, but it will also create a brilliant place for residents to enjoy. The skills trainees learn through the project will be invaluable to them and to the borough, and we are delighted to support such a creative idea that will have such a positive impact on Haringey’s communities.

The Shine Enterprise Centre works with people who are recovering from a drug or alcohol problem, supporting them to re-engage with their local community through a range of local initiatives. Its inception was supported by a capital grant from Public Health England. The project is part of HAGA – a local charity that works with and on behalf of people, families and communities affected by alcohol. You can find out more about the Shine Cafe project, to be based at 89-91 Turnpike Ln, London, N8 0DY, here: and more about the work of HAGA here:

A spectacular new Christmas trail at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens will be transforming the gardens into a magical illuminated wonderland when it opens on 29 November 2017.

The jewel-coloured trail will lead visitors through the Gardens, highlighting the rich Victorian history and heritage trees, all with the magical entertainment of the festive season.

The trail weaves across the landscape, telling little stories and encouraging visitors to interact with the seasonal themes. Installations that visitors will experience include illuminated scenes bringing to life The Twelve Days of Christmas; a tunnel of lights; a mistletoe moment, a scented fire garden and much more.

Visitors will also see an incredible Singing Tree. This magnificent coppice tree has five trunks! Using the latest technology this single coppice will appear to magically sing as visitors wander past. Inspiration will also be drawn from other festive pieces including Silent Night, O Holy Night and The Holly and the Ivy.

Leading the creative, design and implementation is Zoe Bottrell, who is responsible for the creative concepts enjoyed at the popular Christmas at Kew, whose trail has had over one million festive visitors!

The much-loved Botanical Gardens, with four Glasshouses, a Victorian park and bandstand, has provided horticultural inspiration for the Creative Designer.

Zoe plans to have every rib of the beautiful aviary aglow with programmable lights, whilst the entire lawn will be washed with fire-like illumination. This installation alone will feature over 60,000 individual lights. It will take the team over five days to rig the lighting using specialist riggers.

She says: “The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, are an enticing canvas to create a Christmas story, featuring a beautiful aviary, to provide inspiration and illumination opportunities.”

Working in a heritage and botanical landscape creates its own challenges. From the vast amount of infrastructure, to getting hundreds of visitors into gardens whilst keeping them pristine in the midst of winter.

The trail has been specially designed for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Vet charity PDSA is urging pet owners to take action now to prevent millions of pets suffering from extreme distress and trauma triggered by fireworks.

Research by PDSA has revealed that the owners of a staggering eight million dogs and cats* report that their pets are afraid of fireworks with more than a thousand pets** being seen at its pet hospitals in the last 12 months for fireworks-related issues such as phobias and injuries.

PDSA Senior Vet, Sean Wensley, explained: “The PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report found that around 40% of UK owners of cats and dogs report that their pet is afraid of fireworks, and anyone who has seen their pet go through this misery knows how serious their anxiety and fear of firework sounds can be. Many shake and tremble, are unable to settle, toilet in the house, destroy furniture, and can even cause themselves physical injury if they panic, try to escape or run away.”

To help pet owners reduce their pets’ fears, the charity is urging people to take action early. Thanks to funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA’s expert vets have produced a step-by-step Fireworks Ready guide for owners to help them prepare their pets. Go to

Sean continued: “For young pets, careful management of their first experience of fireworks can prevent these fears from developing in the first place. For older pets who are already suffering, reward-based behaviour techniques can be very effective. Both of these approaches take time and patience, so it’s important to start early; in puppy or kittenhood for young pets, and well before fireworks season for older ones.”

PDSA’s Fireworks Ready action plan takes owners through the process of preparing pets for fireworks season, use of pheromones and sound CDs, how to build a noise-reducing fireworks den for pets, plus a checklist for the day itself.

PDSA hopes to help pets like Zakk, who ended up with severe but unexplained injuries to his legs and paws after he was spooked by fireworks. His owner had let him out into their garden when a neighbour suddenly set off fireworks – Zakk panicked and jumped over the gate. He was eventually found the next day covered in blood caused by nasty cuts to his paws. He was taken to a PDSA Pet Hospital where his wounds were treated, but it took a month for them to heal.

Sean commented: “We don’t know exactly what caused Zakk’s injuries – he could have been hit by a car, or cut himself on something as he panicked. But his story highlights how important it is to be aware of the significance of firework phobia for pets and to know that help is available from your local veterinary practice.”

PDSA’s advice on preparing pets for fireworks

  • If you own a young puppy or kitten who will be having their first experience of fireworks, read up on the process of socialisation. This is when young pets are gradually introduced to various people, objects, sounds and experiences during their first few months, which can significantly reduce the likelihood of fears developing in later life.
  • If you have an older pet who already shows signs of fireworks phobia, using a CD for noise-phobic pets to gradually get them used to the sounds of fireworks may help. Build up the volume and duration very gradually over a period of weeks, and ensure you remain calm and relaxed whenever you play the sounds, so your pet learns there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Build a ‘fireworks den’ for your pet, somewhere they feel safe. For dogs, this may be behind the sofa or under a table - cover it with blankets and line it with pillows or cushions to absorb some of the noise. Cats often feel safest when high up, so a safely secured, covered cat bed on top of a wardrobe or shelf may be their preferred option. Build it a few weeks ahead of fireworks season, and give your pet healthy treats or praise when they use it so they build a positive association, but don’t force them to use it.
  • Ensure that cats and dogs are microchipped (this is a legal requirement for dogs anyway), so that if they run off in panic, they can be quickly reunited with their owner when found
  • Use pheromones – these are available as diffusers, which release scents which are undetectable to humans, but have a calming, reassuring effect on our pets. They are available for dogs and cats, and should be used for several weeks leading up to fireworks season.
  • For severe phobias, we recommend speaking to your vet, who will be able to discuss various options including referral to an accredited behaviourist.

Discover the finest view in England aglow once more from 24 November 2017 – 1 January 2018. For the second year running Blenheim Palace's 2000 acres of 'Capability' Brown landscape and Formal Gardens will be transformed into an illuminated wonderland.

Zoe Bottrell, Director Culture Creative says: “I'm excited to return to Blenheim Palace and begin to transform the UNESCO World Heritage Site landscape. Having experienced the creative challenge of lighting the Parkland for the first time in 2016 I am excited to push the boundaries further with bigger and bolder installations, music and illuminations.”

The magical trail will wind through the landscape, highlighting Blenheim Palace's rich history, all with the magic and wonder of the festive season. New and returning visitors can expect to see the trail take a different path, allowing them to discover and interact with the festive scenes and seasonal experiences in a new way.

The trail once more winds along the Great Lake, which will have four different scenes of floating brilliance including 300 illuminating boats crossing from side to side.

The iconic lake will also feature a giant Ducal crown, based on the Duke of Marlborough's own formal crown. The magnificently lit crown will tower above the audience with a 20m fountain erupting from its centre.

Once more the rushing Cascades will be transformed into a festive wonder, this time the giant waterfall will be covered in flames!

Enchanting for all, the creative take on Santa's toy workshop will see the Palace's lakeside Boathouse become a hive of activity. A small pause along the path with allow visitors to hear the sounds of elves busying away making toys for Santa to deliver on his sleigh on Christmas Eve.

Taking into account the vast amount of infrastructure as well as getting hundreds of visitors into gardens whilst keeping them pristine in the midst of winter, adds to the zeal of making this a must-visit festive activity.

The trail has been specially designed for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The Great Outdoors made magical.

Researchers, curators, art historians, critics and artists from across the world will be converging in Birmingham (UK) this week as part of a major international conference focusing on Chinese art that has been made and showcased outside the confines of the traditional museum or gallery.

Taking place between Thursday 12 and Friday 13 October in the School of Art at Birmingham City University, the symposium has been organised by the institution’s Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA), marking the cluster’s 10th annual conference and under the topic ‘Chinese Art outside the Art Space’.

Professor Jiang Jiehong, Director, Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, Birmingham City University, said:

“After holding CCVA symposia elsewhere in China and the UK, we are delighted to be hosting our landmark 10th annual conference back here at Birmingham City University, where the centre was formed and continues to flourish.

“Using our unique position in the UK, the CCVA continues to question the existing histories of Chinese contemporary arts, design media and visual culture, while fostering new ways of thinking transculturally in relation to today’s global-Chinese situation. This year’s conference topic of Chinese art outside the art space has attracted some of the field’s greatest thinkers, and so we expect two days of lively debate and discussion.”

Historically, in China, ‘art outside the art space’ can be understood as both a cultural and a political proposition. From a cultural point of view, the notion of public ‘exhibition’ is entirely Western, whilst in the Chinese tradition of literati art for example, artworks were made, shared, and appreciated within the form of scholarly ‘elegant gathering’ (yaji), which was essentially a kind of private (rather than public) event within secluded (rather than institutional) spaces.

From a political perspective, the ‘outside-ness’ immediately relates to the ‘unofficial’ status of contemporary Chinese art from its early development. For example, the first Star Group exhibition in September 1979 – generally acknowledged as the very first show that marked the beginning of contemporary art in China – was staged in a small public park just next to the China National Art Museum, outside the legitimated and official art space.

Hiu Man Chan, Research Assistant, Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, said that the situation of Chinese art taking place outside the museum and gallery spaces continues, but with a completely different momentum and agenda:

“From shopping malls to office blocks, and Lujiazui in Shanghai to Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, contemporary works have been produced site-specifically for spaces other than art institutions in China for nearly 40 years. These artworks have ‘happened’ in the public sphere and become political or social ‘events’, or even artistic ‘incidents’, as a special form of ‘exhibition’.

“However, more recently, creative curatorial and artistic strategies have been systematically developed to respond to the constraints of art institutions, censorships and, at the same time, to push the boundaries of art.”

Focusing on art made, displayed, performed or executed outside the conventional venues of art museums and galleries, this conference not only offers a unique perspective to understand Chinese art in the contemporary context, but also, more importantly, it aims to critically reflect upon the understandings between art and art exhibition, between artistic productions and audience perceptions, and between art and our daily life.

The conference will also hear from three international keynote speakers, including Karen Smith, a British curator who has been working in China for many years, and is now Lead Curator at OCAT Xi’an, China. Elsewhere, Pauline J. Yao, Lead Curator for Visual Art at M+, Museum for Visual Culture in Hong Kong will give her thoughts on Chinese ‘art outside the art space’, as well as Scott Lash, Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The City Learning Trust is consulting on its proposal to open a new specialist music school in Sandwell, West Midlands, in association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with ambitions to establish a global centre of excellence for music education.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is one of the world’s great orchestras, renowned internationally for its distinctive combination of artistic excellence and deep engagement with the local community.  The orchestra performs at the most prestigious international concert halls, as well as in its home venue – Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

Reflecting its ambition to offer access to world-class musical opportunities for everyone, the CBSO is working with Sandwell Council and the City Learning Trust – one of the most successful multi-academy trusts in the country – to submit a free school application as part of the next wave of applications to the Department for Education (DfE).

Subject to approval from the DfE, the new school would open in Sandwell in September 2020, coinciding with celebrations marking the CBSO’s centenary.  It would cater for students aged 7 to 19, from primary through to secondary and sixth form. In addition to the normal academic curriculum, the school would specialise in classical, instrumental and choral music.  Every child would have the opportunity to learn at least one musical instrument, and students would also benefit from regular projects with CBSO musicians. The school’s most talented young instrumentalists and singers would have access to opportunities through the CBSO’s extensive talent development programme, which includes youth and training orchestras and two youth choruses.

Stephen Maddock OBE, Chief Executive of the CBSO said: “The CBSO is committed to supporting and developing the musical abilities and interests of children and young people from early years groups to university students. We currently do this through an extensive – and internationally admired – programme of opportunities ranging from workshops by individual musicians in schools, through pathways to support and develop outstanding talent, to orchestral concerts for young audiences at Symphony Hall.  Our partnership with the City Learning Trust is a logical extension of this programme, and the proposed new school would give us the opportunity to further use our musical expertise to support young people’s achievement and aspiration.”

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the CBSO’s acclaimed Music Director added “This school would give young people in Sandwell the chance to be inspired by our musicians throughout their education. I am thrilled that the CBSO is involved with the project”.

Carl Ward, Chief Executive, City Learning Trust, said: “Evidence suggests that regular access to high-quality musical opportunities can have a positive impact on attainment across all areas of the curriculum. Our hope is that, as well as helping young people achieve improved academic results, the proposed music school would also inspire the music teachers and music professionals of the future.

“The CBSO is one of the most vibrant cultural organisations in the UK. We are delighted and proud to be working together on this exciting initiative.”

Councillor Steve Eling, Leader of Sandwell Council commented: "I'm thrilled the CBSO is looking to come to Sandwell. We have so many talented young musicians here who will really benefit from being educated at a school partnered with such a renowned orchestra. If the application is approved we will work with City Learning Trust and the CBSO to find a suitable site for the new free school."

Carl added: “This new school would be well-supported by our established network of local, national and international business partners; we would encourage any businesses and organisations to get in touch if they are interested in supporting our education vision by nominating governors, giving students an insight into businesses and/or providing mentoring and coaching opportunities.”

The CBSO is the second orchestra with which the City Learning Trust has collaborated. Plans for the Hallé Music Free School, which will be based in Stoke-on-Trent, were announced earlier in the year and that school is also due to open in 2020.

Organisations from across the paper cup supply chain have signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups. The cross-industry collaboration will work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution which complements and builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by the paper cup industry.

The companies signed up to the agreement are: Benders Paper Cups, Bunzl Catering Supplies, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, Dart Products Europe, Greggs, Huhtamaki, International Paper, McDonald's UK, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Seda Group, Starbucks, and Stora Enso.

Using ACE UK's extensive recycling expertise, gained running the beverage carton industry's recycling programme, the fourteen companies will fund an activity programme which will give many more people access to recycling for paper cups. The programme includes:

From 1st January 2018 all ACE UK bring banks will accept paper cups for recycling, delivering an additional 382 recycling points located in 97 local authorities across the UK. With a further 33 recycling points across an additional eight local authorities scheduled during the next phase.

Cups from these recycling points will be processed at ACE UK's recycling facility in Halifax.

Drawing on its experience and existing relationships with local authorities, waste management organisations and recycling bodies, ACE UK will work to include cups in local authority kerbside collections. Currently 66% of local authorities collect beverage cartons at kerbside, in addition to those which collect through bring banks, and it is hoped to achieve similar levels of coverage for cups.

ACE UK has been successfully running the beverage carton industry's recycling programme for the last ten years driving significant increases in carton recycling as part of its role as the UK beverage carton industry trade body. During this time it has worked closely with local authorities and waste management companies so that today 92% of local authorities collect beverage cartons for recycling through either bring banks or kerbside collection.

Commenting on the agreement Richard Hands, CEO of ACE UK said: “The paper cup industry is facing very similar recycling challenges to the ones the beverage carton industry faced when we started our programme ten years ago. Whilst our primary focus will remain on increasing beverage carton recycling, we believe our expertise, experience and existing relationships can help the paper cup industry create a step change in cup recycling. Whilst it is early days, we have a clear measured plan agreed and expect to see significant progress in cup recycling over the next two years and beyond.”

The agreement builds on activities implemented and supported during the last year by the companies involved, such as in-store cup recycling, single site and pilot recycling projects including 'One More Shot' and the 'Square Mile Challenge'.

Neil Whittall Global Category Director of Speciality Coffee at Huhtamaki UK, and chair of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group (PCRRG) said: “Whilst paper cups are fully recyclable, the industry recognises that many are not being recycled because of a lack of collection facilities. Companies across the industry have been working to address this barrier and increase cup recycling.

“This agreement with ACE UK represents a significant advance in UK recycling infrastructure for paper cups. It will also help us accelerate progress towards the PCRRG's objective of ensuring the majority of the UK population have access to information, schemes and facilities to allow them to recycle their paper cup, as set out in our Paper Cup Manifesto.”

“Furthermore by generating greater volumes of cups for recycling this will create a market for the material, making cups more attractive to waste management companies and creating the potential for more schemes to be introduced to collect cups from a much wider range of locations such as offices and high street locations.”

Mike Turner MD, International Paper Foodservice Europe and chair of European packaging trade body Pack2Go added: “This collaborative agreement, funded entirely by the signatories, is a clear demonstration of the commitment of these organisations, from across the paper cup supply chain, to address the barriers to recycling and deliver practical solutions to maximise recycling of paper cups.”

Dominic Paul, MD of Costa Coffee, said:

Costa is proud to be a part of today's ACE UK announcement, which will give our customers more access to recycling points for their takeaway cups.

Using ACE UK's extensive recycling expertise, which currently allows 92% of local authorities to recover beverage cartons for recycling, the partnership will launch in January 2018.

This ground-breaking agreement will help to further accelerate takeaway cup recycling and compliment the nationwide, in-store recycling scheme we already operate across over 2,200 Costa stores. Since the launch of our in-store recycling in February we have already recovered and are in the process of recycling over 9 million takeaway cups, which includes any competitor cups. We also continue to drive the use of reusable cups and have launched two new multi-purpose cups, offering a 25p discount for customers using any branded reusable cup in store.

Post Brexit the Midlands needs to wake up to the significant Trade and Business opportunities which Commonwealth nations offer" So says Keith Stokes-Smith, Chairman of the Birmingham Commonwealth Association."A large number of Commonwealth countries outperform European nations in certified world rankings and at a time when Continental Europe is in relative long term economic decline.The Commonwealth should not be seen as a replacement to EU trade. It does however have great potential and working together we can maximise the fulfillment of that potential to the Midlands benefit."

The Birmingham Commonwealth Association are holding a Commonwealth Trade and Business half day Conference on 29th November featuring a number of opportunities in India, Malta and Jamaica.It is hoped to follow this up with missions to these three countries in 2018.

Deal Making in target Commonwealth Countries

An interactive session with representatives of India, Malta and Jamaica

29 November- Birmingham City Centre

           We are pleased to invite you to our half day Commonwealth Trade Conference on Wednesday 29th November to be held in the Banqueting Suite, Birmingham City                      Council,Victoria Square, Birmingham .

The Conference will be of particular interest to those in the Healthcare ( to include medical devices/training of nurses etc), Creative/Digital entertainment and  Electric Motor Vehicle sectors and  who are interested in India and Jamaica as a target market, and to those in the Aviation Support sector (maintenance/management/registration of aircraft/call centres/IT) or ICT or Higher Education sectors in the case of Malta. It must also be noted that post Brexit, as well as being a Commonwealth Country, Malta will remain an EU nation thus a potential gateway to both the EU and Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth presents enormous opportunities particularly given our shared values, legal structures and cultural similarities and post Brexit, with 1 billion potential consumers out there, we in the Midlands need to take advantage of these opportunities.

We are pleased that Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine and representatives of local government the East and West Midlands  will be  speaking.

Light refreshments and lunch are included in the ticket price

Further details can be found on our website:

and by going to the Evenbrite link:

Tabor House, Birmingham’s only permanent night shelter, held an official launch on 10 October to coincide with World Homeless Day.

Small groups of invited guests were given tours of the new facility by some of the staff and volunteers. Mairead Shaw, one of Tabor House’s co-ordinators, showed Andy Street around the communal living area and explained how Tabor House will work.

Speaking at the event, the Mayor said, “The wonderful thing about Tabor House is not only does it give accommodation for a number of days or weeks, but during that time the residents will have support to rebuild their lives so they can go into permanent accommodation. It’s that positive approach about rebuilding that’s so special about what we see here today. It is a credit to iShelter and the team of charities that have come together to form this.”

Guests can stay for three nights or for 28 nights. Those who stay for the longer period are matched with a mentor who will provide one-to-one support to help them access services that will help them turn their lives around, moving off the streets and into more permanent accommodation. Tabor House is the first shelter in the country taking a strength-based approach, where volunteers and staff focus on the skills and ambitions of guests, as opposed to the problems or deficits they may have.

Fr Michael White, Chair of Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham, one of the organisations behind Tabor House, said, “It looks like a dormitory and, in a way, it is. The people we’re dealing with are some of the most vulnerable and destitute people in the city. Some of them are afraid to go to hostels because of the bullying that can take place in hidden spaces. They like the openness of Tabor House. And all through the night we’ll have volunteers here, watching over our guests.”

Guests will be referred to Tabor House by SIFA Fireside or Midland Heart. At the end of their stay nobody will be sent back to the streets – the staff and partner organisations will ensure they have somewhere to go.

Shelter, hot food, a shower and mentoring are some of the practical aspects of Tabor House that guests will benefit from. As well as this, they will be treated with respect and friendship as they take steps to gain control over their lives. Fr Michael said, “Often, one thing that is lacking is warmth and respect in their lives. We hope that they will find that here.”

Ambitious plans for how Sandwell will look in 2030 have been outlined at a special event in West Bromwich.

Sandwell Vision 2030 was officially launched at West Bromwich Town Hall.

Representatives of local businesses, the NHS, voluntary and community organisations and West Midlands Police were among those who attended the event run by Sandwell Council.

Sandwell Vision 2030 sets out 10 ambitions to be delivered by the council and its partners in the next 13 years.

They cover a wide range of topics from living healthy lives to lowering crime and from raising aspirations to improving the quality of schools.

The council carried out extensive consultation with residents and partners from across the borough to create the ambitions.

Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Steve Eling, said it was important that as many people as possible got involved with creating a better borough.

“This isn’t just about the council creating a better Sandwell for residents,” he said. “It’s about all of our partners, from schools to businesses and voluntary organisations to emergency services, coming together to deliver the Vision for 2030.

“There is so much we can do together to make a real difference. Everyone has only the very best intentions for Sandwell. By making sure we all pull together and face in the right direction, we can achieve positive outcomes for Sandwell and its residents.”

Councillor Steve Trow, Sandwell’s cabinet member for core council services, said: “By listening to our residents and partners we have created a bold and ambitious vision for Sandwell by the year 2030.

“It will be somewhere people feel safe and choose to bring up their families. Residents will enjoy good health, have rewarding work opportunities and feel connected and valued in their neighbourhoods.

“Yesterday was an important step in delivering these ambitions. It’s now up to us and our many partners to make the Vision a reality and we’re ready for the challenge.”