Colors: Blue Color

The animal welfare charity is warning cat owners against ‘dangerous’ collars which could leave felines with fatal injuries.

This comes after almost 100 incidents involving cats injured by their own collars have been reported to the RSPCA since the start of the year.

In the last three months there were more than 50 reports and 26 of those were reported to the RSPCA in May alone.

Poor Nugget, the three year old tortoiseshell cat, has been suffering from a large wound in her armpit after getting her leg stuck in her collar - possibly for weeks.

Chunks of fur and skin were pulled off when the collar was finally cut loose.

RSPCA’s Animal Collection Officer Lucy Green was called last month (June 29) by a member of the public in Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire, who spotted the cat limping around the area.

ACO Green said: “I went out that day and I smelt the poor cat before I saw her. It was pretty putrid and infected. There were a lot of flies on her but luckily there were no fly eggs or maggots in the wound or it could have been a much worse prognosis for her.”

She was treated by vets initially who named her Nugget before she was transferred from the RSPCA Bridlington Branch to the Hull and East Riding Animal Centre where her care is now continuing.

She continued: “It was pretty nasty. Nugget was in a lot of pain. She was lashing out and hissing when I first found her but it must have been because she was in so much pain - as soon as I cut the collar off she was absolutely lovely.

“Staff at the Hull centre said that this is the worst embedded collar injury they have ever seen. As an animal collection officer I would say that it is definitely up there as one of the worst.

“Her wound was so large vets worried it would keep reopening every time she moved if they stitched it up so staff have been working round the clock to keep cleaning and dressing her wound and giving her pain relief and antibiotics. Now it has healed a little bit more they can stitch her up.”

A quick release collar is designed to snap open when tugged with sufficient force and can ensure that a cat is released from its collar if they become stuck.

Elasticated collars, or collars with buckles which do not release without human help can leave cats struggling to free themselves when their legs become stuck - causing horrific injuries.

ACO Green continued: “She is doing really well at the animal home. She is a really friendly little cat but unfortunately we haven't had an owner come forward for her yet.”

One year old black and white cat, named Brian by RSPCA staff, was found in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands on Tuesday (July 11) with his front leg trapped in his collar.

The poor cat was limping around Stourbridge Road with the collar cutting into his armpit.

RSPCA’s Animal Collection Officer Shaun Howden was called to the scene after a member of the public found the cat and tried to cut him free from his collar but Brian became scared and ran away.

ACO Howden said: “I managed to contain him and cut the collar off. He was clearly in a lot of discomfort as the collar had got stuck and ended up around his armpit.

“The collar was embedded into an infected wound and it looked and smelt quite bad.

“There was no ID on the collar and no microchip so we have been unable to locate his owner.”

Brian is now recovering at Birmingham’s Newbrook Farm Animal Centre where his injury is being treated and he is doing much better now.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert said: “These stories serve as an important reminder to cat owners to only use quick release collars on their pets as other collars can be lethal.

“All too often we get called to cats that have become injured due to a collar as there are too many dangerous collars on sale. We would strongly advise against purchasing a collar with buckles that don’t snap open, or collars made from elastic.

“The majority of flea collars are also not advisable as they do not have safety buckles, so we would encourage pet owners to prioritise safety first and give your cat flea treatment another way.

“Cats are natural hunters and curious explorers that enjoy climbing trees or pushing through tight spots and for these reasons it is imperative that any collar is designed to free the cat should they become snagged during their adventures.

“If the collar gets caught on something the cat may try to free itself by using its foot and then, in turn, get its leg stuck with the collar ending up under the cat’s armpit causing painful injury.

“The most reliable way to identify your cat is to have them microchipped rather than having a collar and tag which may fade over time, or hinder them when they explore.

“It is also far better to have to pay for a new collar if your pet has lost theirs than to have to pay for urgent veterinary treatment when your pet becomes injured due to its collar.”

If you are the owner of either Brian or Nugget, or have any information which may help trace them, please contact the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

If you see a cat in distress, or any animal in need, contact the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.


Commonwealth governments, development partners, youth leaders and stakeholders are expected to make an historic commitment to invest in young people – every country’s greatest resource – at a major summit in Uganda this week.

The 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Kampala brings together over 200 senior government representatives from more than 30 countries, as well as young people, youth workers and donor organisations.

Ministers are set to agree a raft of policy objectives to advance the ambitions and needs of young women and men aged under 30. The theme of the meeting, held between 31 July and 4 August, is ‘Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People’.  The theme acknowledges young people’s role as nation-builders and the imperative to invest in their social, political and economic empowerment.

The summit, taking place 25 years since the first ever Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, comes as the world’s youth population has reached a record 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29. In many Commonwealth member countries, young people make up a quarter to a third of the population.

Leading development partners and donors joining Ministers at the summit include the African Development Bank, the Amersi Foundation, Comic Relief, DFID, the IFRC, the MasterCard Foundation, NEXUS, UNICEF, UNFPA and USAID.

It comes as the Commonwealth Secretariat publishes the findings of a study of the status of youth work in 35 countries, which unearths a gap in legislative and policy provisions that protect and professionalise the status of youth workers.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “This meeting offers an historic chance to seize the opportunities created by our expanding youth population. In order for young women and men to contribute to national well-being and economic prosperity, we must find innovative ways to promote their participation in civic and political life, remove barriers to entrepreneurship, and expand opportunities for education and meaningful employment.”

“The landmark 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognised that investment in young people is critical to achieving sustainable development. This aligns closely with the Commonwealth’s track record in recognising and empowering young women and men as nation-builders. The task before us now is to agree and fund strategies to realise the full potential of young people and unleash their talents to achieve the Global Goals.”

The Ministerial Meeting from 2 to 4 August 2017 will support governments ministers and senior officials to identify and adopt innovative solutions to financing and resourcing youth development, take stock of pioneering initiatives and forge new partnerships. Practical measures will be recommended to ministers by delegates participating in a Youth Leaders Forum and a Stakeholders Forum, between 31 July and 1 August. Youth leaders will also join ministers at the table for their meeting.

Uganda’s Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya, who is chairing the ministerial meeting, said: “The Government of the Republic of Uganda and the people of Uganda are delighted to welcome all delegates to the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting.

“It is my conviction that the meeting will come up with fundamental resolutions and strategies that will revolutionise the resourcing and financing mechanisms for youth programmes. The most important outcome should be to come up with innovative ways and initiatives that can cause a ripple effect in the overall development agenda of our young people.”

Kishva Ambigapathy, Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council, which is convening the Youth Leaders Forum, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to have an intellectual discourse with fellow youth leaders on the dynamics of youth financing. I appreciate the time and commitment given by youth ministers to work together with young leaders for not only looking at financing but also nurturing young leaders with capacity-building and empowerment.”

Lillian Aber Young, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, co-organiser of the forum, said: “There is an urgent need to equip young people with information that will enable them to take advantage of the opportunities in the commonwealth by activating their governments to include youth in their development agendas. This Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting will offer youth the opportunity to spread awareness and draw attention to the need for increased funding of youth programmes.”

Mpaka Mwine, Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs, co-organiser of the Stakeholders Forum, said it would provide a space for engagement on sustainable youth financing and resourcing. “The need for youth development requires structured and organised youth financing,” she said.

During the summit, two new Commonwealth network organisations will be formally launched: the Commonwealth Consortium on Youth Work Education and Training, and the Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Worker Associations. Both groups are focused on enhancing the critical work done by Youth Work Professionals to support and develop young people to become positive, productive citizens.

War is coming to Warwick Castle with an all-new horseback jousting spectacle which runs to the 3rd September.  Families must pledge allegiance to either the House of York or the House of Lancaster and join a 2,000-strong cheering crowd in the jousting arena as the pummeling of horses’ hooves and the splintering of lances reverberates throughout Wars of the Roses LIVE.  .

In the Wars if the Roses, two sides of the same fractured royal family battled, besieged and betrayed each other for three bloody decades of the fifteenth century.  Across England, brother fought brother, cousin slayed cousin, all vying for the English crown. History books tell which side triumphed and who was slain, but now families visiting Warwick Castle this May half-term can feel the heat of battle for themselves as their hearts pump for the glory of England!

An all-new live action horseback battle with jaw-dropping special effects, the Wars of the Roses LIVE is set in a specially-constructed riverside arena and promises to be a fist-thumpingly spectacular show of knightly heroism, demanding bold battle strategy and fearless fighting from both sides. The spectacle is included in castle admission at no extra cost.

The arena holds a crowd of 2,000 and evokes magnificent mediaeval jousts recorded in historical sources. Wars of the Roses LIVE breathes new life into the extraordinary events that ripped apart England six hundred years ago. Key players in the wider Wars of the Roses story with direct links to Warwick Castle include Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick - known as The Kingmaker, who switched sides from York to Lancaster and imprisoned Edward VI (whom he had helped to ascend the throne) at the castle; and The Kingmaker’s daughter, Anne Neville – born at Warwick – who became Queen of England upon marriage to Richard III.

On Saturday evening, hundreds gathered at The Robin 2 Hotel in Bilston to watch the institution that is Magnum play their hometown gig. Magnum, a band formed in 1972 had a string of hit singles and albums in the 1980s and 1990s, and are currently enjoying a new lease of life that has brought in countless new generations of fans. On Saturday, this was quite clearly on display, as the age range was somewhere between sixteen and sixty. As one concert attendee said. “It’s fabulous seeing so many people here, and of such a different age range as well.”

As the doors opened at seven thirty, a murmur of excitement spread through the crowd, this was going to be the first time Magnum had played in Bilston in a long time, and as such, a lot of people wondered what would be included in their setlist, would they go for a set full of old classics, a set filled with new songs or a mixture of both?

Before that question could be answered however, the opening act in the fantastic Rebecca Downes gave the crowd a lot of bang for their buck.  Rebecca and her band tore through killer song after killer song including a roaring rendition of the Janis Joplin classic “Take A Little Piece of My Heart.’ When they were done there were loud cheers and calls for more.

After Ms Downes and her band had left the stage, the anticipation built up even more and as David, a fan of Ms Downes and Magnum said. “Magnum have got a lot to follow now.” Sure enough when the band got onto the stage, the crowd roared with joy, and that roar only got louder as the opening notes of ‘Solider of The Line’ were played. That was then followed by what could arguably considered one of the greatest songs ever written ‘On A Storyteller’s Night.’

Rip roaring rocker ‘Sacred Blood Divine Lies’ followed, and the crowd kept going, jumping and singing along. This continued through another series of classics and newer songs such as ‘Blood Red Laughter’ and ‘How Far Jerusalem’, and on it went. Bob Catley, the lead singer for the band at one point between songs smiled and said. “You’re a rowdy crowd tonight Bilston!” And that they were.

Magnum finished off their set with four classics. “Les Mors Dansant’, ‘All England’s Eyes’, ‘Vigilante’ and ‘Kingdom of Madness’ and when they were done the crowd was cheering, roaring and in one or two cases crying. It was a fantastic show, and a brilliant reminder of why rock and roll is the greatest type of music around.

Landing in Birmingham as part of a major new UK tour this July, this new production of Miss Saigon features an international cast of 38 plus 15-piece orchestra – one of the largest currently touring in the UK.

Since its London premiere in 1989, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s West End and Broadway blockbuster Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history. Last seen on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage in 2005, this new UK touring production stars Red Concepcion as ‘The Engineer’, Sooha Kim as ‘Kim’, Ashley Gilmour as ‘Chris’, Zoë Doano as ‘Ellen’, Ryan O’Gorman as ‘John’ and Gerald Santos as ‘Thuy’. At certain performances ‘The Engineer’ will be played by Christian Rey Marbella, and ‘Kim’ will be played by Joreen Bautista. Marsha Songcome will play ‘Gigi’ until 1 August when Na-Young Jeon will take over the role.

Winner of a record-breaking nine Whatsonstage awards including Best show, Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, in which a 17 year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son.

The original Broadway production of Miss Saigon opened on April 11, 1991 with what was the largest advance sale in Broadway history ($37 million).  The show went on to play for nearly ten years and 4,063 performances seen by more than 5.9 million people.

Miss Saigon has been performed in 28 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages, has won over 40 awards including 2 Olivier Awards, 3 Tony Awards, and 4 Drama Desk Awards and been seen by over 35 million people worldwide. In March, this production of Miss Saigon opened on Broadway where it plays to nightly ovations.

When the smash-hit run of this production opened in London in May 2014 to record-breaking advance sales and critical acclaim, Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph wrote, “This thrilling new production spills out beyond the theatre and speaks directly to the times we live in”. The show swept the board at the 2015 awards winning a record breaking nine awards, the most awards ever won by a single show in the 15-year history of the awards including: Best West End Show and Best Revival of a Musical.

Miss Saigon runs in Birmingham until Sat 23 September.

A leading member of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) executive committee is taking a major role in the response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Aftab Chughtai (pictured), an ABCC executive committee member for more than ten years, has been named by the government as one of four members of a taskforce that will oversee and support the local council’s long-term recovery plan in the aftermath of the disaster.

More than 80 people lost their lives in the fire, which ripped through the West London high-rise building on the evening of 14 June.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the independent Grenfell Recovery Taskforce that has been set up will support the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in the development and implementation of a plan to help the survivors of the fire.

Mr Javid said the taskforce would provide him with the assurance that RBKC had the capacity and capability to deliver an effective plan for the Grenfell residents, taking into account their views.

Joining Mr Chughtai – also chairman of the West Midlands Police Independent Advisory Group – on the taskforce is another well-known Birmingham figure, Javed Khan, formerly assistant director of education in the city.

Mr Khan is now chief executive of Barnardo’s. The other two members of the taskforce are Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council and Chris Wood, a partner at Altair housing consultancy, and former director of housing for three London boroughs.

The government said that the taskforce members had a wealth of experience in local government, housing and the voluntary sector, as well as a track record of effectively engaging local communities in key projects.

The taskforce has been asked to look at whether RBKC has the proper arrangements in place to engage with the local community and ensure that all the immediate housing needs resulting from the fire are fully and promptly addressed.

Additionally, the taskforce will support the council to significantly improve its housing management, including addressing weaknesses in the tenant management organisation.

Aftab Chughtai said: "I am pleased to be appointed to the Grenfell Recovery Taskforce which will have a vital role ensuring that the right support and plans are in place to help the local community move on from this terrible tragedy.

"Getting the relations between the local community and Council right is key and I hope to use my experience in community engagement in the West Midlands to make a real difference in Kensington and Chelsea. I look forward to working with my fellow taskforce members and the Council and starting this important work."

Sajid Javid said: "I am determined that everything possible is done to support the local community following the disaster. This includes ensuring an effective recovery plan is developed that takes into account the views of the local community.

"The new taskforce has extensive experience in this area and will provide the council with the expertise needed to deliver this important work."

Mr Chughtai runs a department store in East Birmingham. He received an MBE in this year’s New Year honours list, which was awarded in recognition of his services to business and community relations in Birmingham.

He sits on the board of many community-based organisations, including Saltley Business Association (of which he is vice-chairman) and Birmingham Muslim Burial Council.

He is also a trustee of Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust and chairman of Birmingham East Independent Advisory Group, West Midlands Police.

ABCC director Anjum Khan said: “The creation of this taskforce is hugely important in helping the council deal with the aftermath of the fire and re-establish trust with the local community.

“The work being carried out will be done under scrutiny from the whole nation, so it is clear that the government has opted to choose the best people it can possibly find to form the taskforce.

“It is a huge honour for both Aftab and the ABCC for him to be part of the taskforce and the important work that it will be carrying out.”

Nominations for the twentieth edition of the UK Coaching Awards are now open.

Do you know a coach who goes above and beyond the line of duty? Have they transformed someone’s life or had a significant impact on their local community? Now is the time to show your appreciation for all they do and nominate them for the UK Coaching Awards.

Hosted by UK Coaching, the showpiece annual event is seen as one of the most prestigious within the coaching community and this year will be held at The HAC, City of London on Thursday 30 November.

The principle of Awards is to recognise the contribution coaches make in transforming lives across the UK. Previous winners include coaches making a huge difference in their community as well as the greats of sports coaching across a wide variety of sports.

Chief Executive Officer at UK Coaching, Mark Gannon, said:

“I’m very pleased to announce nominations for this year’s awards open.

“This is a particularly special year for the Awards, as we celebrate its twentieth birthday and its first under our new remit of UK Coaching.

“The awards are a unique opportunity for us to recognise and reward the work of excellent coaching at all levels across sport and physical activity, from community to high performance and I have high-expectations that the coaching community in its entirety will be out in force to nominate this year.”

Eddie Van Hoof MBE, Head National Coach for Men's Artistic Gymnastics and current UK Coach of the Year, said:

“I was honoured to have been named UK Coach of the Year at the 2016 UK Coaching Awards. To have your work recognised beyond your sport is truly gratifying and a great feeling.

“The Awards are quite unique in the sense they showcase an entire spectrum of coaching. It really is a pleasure to go to the event and hear stories of the amazing work other coaches are undertaking to aid the needs of their participants and help transform lives."

Sunil Birdy, current Community Coach of the Year, said:

“Winning Community Coach of the Year in 2016 was a fantastic personal achievement for me, and one of the highlights of my career so far. A lot of work goes in to making sure there are adequate opportunities for disabled people in my local community.

“All athletes start somewhere, and I know so many brilliant coaches and individuals across the country who continue to do incredible work, enriching, contributing and providing opportunities to their communities, despite facing numerous barriers. I was delighted for myself and the people that support me at PACE, to receive this recognition and confirmation that we’re doing a great job engaging people in sport.”

In line with UK Coaching’s recent rebrand to include a wider definition of coaching – acknowledging its impact on physical and mental well-being, as well as individual, economic and social and development – it is stressed that nominations on behalf of coaches, instructors, leaders, teachers, trainers and others who support people to achieve their sport and activity goals are all welcome.

There are 12 award categories in total, eight for coaches, three in support of coaches and an overall UK Coach of the Year award.

The Awards for Coaches are given to individual coaches who have excelled and shown outstanding commitment in a certain area, or to an individual and/or group over the last 12 months. They are:

  • Community Coach of the Year
  • Children’s Coach of the Year
  • Disability Coach of the Year
  • Heather Crouch Young Coach of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Performance Development Coach of the Year
  • High Performance Coach of the Year
  • And the Coaching Chain, which recognises contributions made by individual coaches throughout an elite athlete’s life in helping achieve their potential.
The Awards in Support of Coaches recognise those who recruit, develop, educate, qualify, and/or deploy coaches effectively in the UK. They are:
  • Coach Developer of the Year
  • Coaching Culture Organisation of the Year
  • Coaching Intervention of the Year
Public nominations will close on the 22 September and then inform a judging process, completed by a panel of coaching experts, before Awards finalists are announced.

Internationally acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams OBE has taken up a new role at Birmingham Conservatoire as Visiting Consultant in Vocal Performance.

London-born Williams, who won the Singer of the Year award in the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, enjoys relationships with all the major UK opera companies and is particularly well-known for his notable interpretations of Mozart's leading men.

He has also sung world premieres of operas by composers including Michael van de Aa, Sally Beamish, David Sawer, and Robert Saxton.

The appointment will see Roderick Williams visit Birmingham Conservatoire on a regular basis, where he will give recitals, individual coaching and masterclasses for the students, as they seek to be amongst the next generation of great performers.

Williams has sung concert repertoire with all the BBC orchestras and many other leading ensembles throughout the world. His many festival appearances include the BBC Proms (including the Last Night of the Proms in 2014), Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Melbourne in Australia.

In 2015 he sang ‘Christus’ in Peter Sellars’ staging of the St. John Passion with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

He is also an accomplished recital artist who can be heard at venues and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St. Luke's, the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna and on BBC Radio 3, where he is frequently played.

His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos and an extensive repertoire of English song. He was awarded an OBE in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to music.

On his appointment, Roderick Williams OBE said:

“It gives me great pleasure to cement my relationship with Birmingham Conservatoire formally and I am thrilled to be taking up a position as a Visiting Consultant in Vocal Performance, giving me the opportunity to consider alongside these talented students what it actually means to be a performer.

“That this appointment coincides with the Conservatoire’s move to its new home is a happy bonus for me and I look forward to sharing in these exciting times.”

Part of Birmingham City University, the new Birmingham Conservatoire will be a unique contemporary building, incorporating five public performance spaces including a new 500 seat concert hall for orchestral training and performance, private rehearsal and practice rooms, and teaching spaces for musicians from a variety of disciplines.

Furthermore, as the first purpose built conservatoire in the UK since 1987, the £57 million institution will be the only one of its kind in the country designed for the demands of the digital age, when it opens in September this year.

Paul Wingfield, Head of Vocal and Operatic Studies, Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that Roderick will be joining us at this exciting and dynamic time in the history of the Conservatoire. Roderick is already known to many of our students for his inspirational masterclasses and his unwavering commitment to young voices. I am sure that we will all benefit enormously from the wealth of his experience both on the operatic stage and the concert platform.

“His presence at the Conservatoire will help ensure we are at the leading edge of vocal training in the UK.”

Williams’ appointment follows hot on the heels of the Chinese cellist Jian Wang’s arrival as the Conservatoire’s International Chair in Cello beginning in September 2017.

With a history dating back to 1859, Birmingham Conservatoire is one of the leading music academies in the country. Internationally renowned cellist Professor Julian Lloyd Webber took up the role of its Principal in 2015.

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Roderick Williams to Birmingham Conservatoire’s vocal team as our new Visiting Consultant. Roderick is one of the finest baritones on the international scene and already his work with our students has produced outstanding results. We look forward to seeing him in our wonderful new Conservatoire!”

There was a royal visit, to London, as former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and The Ooni of Ife, was at the Excel Arena to unite nationals from the Diaspora from both home and abroad.

Addressing a combined crusade of the Cherubim & Seraphim Worldwide and Celestial Church of Christ he marked his presence by preaching the undying love of God which brings communities together and how people must show love to each other.

Quoting the passage 1st Corinthians 13: 13, he read: “And now these three remain; Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.”

Listing a number of attributes that he claimed God does not share with human beings, including: Omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience and eternity, he said: “These are great attributes of God which he keeps to himself.”

Chief Obasanjo added that there were attributes of God that he shared with human beings. These, according to him, include righteousness, kindness, compassion, love and “the greatest of these attributes is love,” which brought enormous cheers from the crowded ICC Hall. “Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message,” he said. “If you have no faith, you can’t believe in God, if you have no faith, you can’t even believe in yourself. To believe is to have faith.

Hope is the attitude and focus. Love is the action from one to another. God himself is love, as we have in 1st John, Chapter 4 Verse 8. Love is the attribute of God that he shares with us. Love is the only attribute that can change human beings, community, society; love can change the world. No matter what is happening to you, or happening within our nation, our continent, our world, the only way to bring about change is through love.”

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And in closing, he concluded: “This joint revival has been brought about by love. If we must make progress in our life, we must love. Hatred kills.”

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi also spoke at the event tagged ‘Comfort the Comforter Crusade stating, “What you are doing today is very good. Both Cherubim & Seraphim church and the Celestial Church that are having a joint revival were established in Africa by black men. I don’t believe in the saying that nothing good comes out of Africa. If we don’t acknowledge our own, who will do it for us?

“The cloth that we wear was first worn by Oduduwa Ateworo. Oduduwa was the first to wear cloth in the entire world. We blacks were the first to produce iron; that is why they call us blacksmith. Today, they use iron for every good thing – cars, aeroplane, houses, even this mighty hall, where we are, cannot stand without iron.”

Brits look in the fridge or food cupboard 23 times per day, according to new research.

A survey of homeowners carried out by leading household appliances retailer,, revealed Brits look in the fridge 14 times and the cupboards 9 times per day on average, despite eating or drinking something from them just 6 times.

The research, which looked in to the eating habits on the nation, found that women looked in the fridge or cupboard 25 times per day compared to men who looked just 21 times.

When quizzed on their behaviors in the kitchen, just 22% of respondents say they look because they are hungry while 35% say they do it because it’s habit and they don’t have any intention of actually eating anything.

The data also revealed the go to snacks for fridge raiders in the UK. Cheese came in first place, as 35% of those surveyed say they will regularly snack on this, followed by cold meats (33%).

Chocolate came in third place for 29% of fridge raiding Brits, while healthier options such as fruit (27%), and vegetables (22%) came in fourth and fifth place.

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at comments: “The data revealed some interesting findings about the nation’s snacking practices, especially the number of times people look in the fridge and cupboards just out of habit.

“Everyone has that one family member or friend who looks in the fridge or cupboard for a snack whenever they visit, and we’re all guilty of doing it at other people’s homes, but it’s not that often we actually take something out and eat it.

“That said, it’s interesting to see that when we do snack, it seems to be the savory options that are the nations firm fridge raiding favorites.”

Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Friendly Awards are on the lookout for people in Birmingham and Solihull who are improving the lives of those affected by dementia.

Now in their fourth year, the awards celebrate people who are raising awareness,changing attitudes and challenging misunderstandings around dementia.

Dementia devastates lives and by 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. The awards team wants to hear from people who are leading the dementia movement, inspiring others and are determined to transform the dementia landscape forever.

This year there are 13 awards up for grabs across 10 categories, including:

  • Dementia Friendly Organisation
  • Community Partnership
  • Dementia Friends Champion
  • Innovation
  • Young person’s contribution
  • Journalist
  • Inspiring Individual
The team are also introducing a new category to celebrate individual and group fundraiser of the year.

Last year’s winners included a junior school performing novel work with a care home, the East of England Co-op for widespread staff training on dementia and an NHS dementia-friendly dentistry programme in the North West.

Maria Parkes, Services Manager for Alzheimer's Society in Birmingham and Solihull said:

“I’m keen to see a variety of entrants from Birmingham and Solihull as there’s some terrific dementia-friendly work taking place here throughout the year.

“Every day we hear examples of people in the community who’ve made a real difference to the lives of people with dementia. This year’s awards will give them the recognition they truly deserve.”

Anyone who has made a difference to the lives of people affected by dementia is encouraged to enter. Industry experts will unite with people affected by dementia to choose the winners.

Nominations close at Midnight on Monday 21 August.  Enter by searching ‘Dementia Friendly Awards’ at Entrants can nominate themselves or others.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 29 November by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, Angela Rippon CBE.

Wye Valley Brewery has received a visit from Professor Julian Lloyd Webber to discuss brewing a bespoke bottled beer for the Birmingham Conservatoire’s brand new facility.

Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire and a long-time fan of Wye Valley Brewery’s ales, including Butty Bach and Hereford Pale Ale, Professor Lloyd Webber plans to serve the bespoke bottled beer, as well as a cask ale, in the bar of the new building.

The internationally renowned cellist and conductor will be returning to brew the bottled beer alongside Head Brewer, Gareth Bateman, this August.

Commenting during his visit last week, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber said:

“I am very excited to be brewing a bespoke Wye Valley Brewery beer. It will be a real treat for students and visitors at the Conservatoire to have this popular local brewery create something special for them.”

Part of Birmingham City University, the new £57 million home for Birmingham Conservatoire will open in September 2017 as part of the institution’s £280 million investment in its facilities.

Games such as ‘i-spy’, traditionally used to help pass the time on long car journeys with children, could soon be a thing of the past as more and more children turn to phones and tablets for entertainment on the road, according to new research among parents planning to drive on holiday this year from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Less than a third of children (31%) now play i-spy in the car. Instead, 45% play games on phones or tablets, while 36% watch TV shows on their technological devices.

When asked what keeps the children amused for the longest time in the car, over half (51%) of parents now say phones and tablets are the runaway winner, and just one in ten (10%) think i-spy or ‘other car games’ (9%) are effective.

This shows a marked increase in the use of technology among children in just the last two years – in 2015 Enterprise conducted similar research which showed over a third of parents (36%) still found car games to be an effective way to keep children entertained.

Four in five parents (79%) say that their children play on phones or tablets for ‘hours on end’, and a third of parents (32%) say they ‘never limit’ how long their children use them. Almost a third of parents (29%) also say their children can use their ‘phones and tablets how they want to’ and they don’t control what content the children have access to.

This includes use of social media; 76% of all parents, including 71% of parents with children aged 10 and under, allow them to access social media – despite age restrictions which are supposed to prevent children under 13 from using most social media platforms. Among the under 10s, YouTube is the favourite social media platform (44%), followed by Facebook (32%), Instagram (22%), and Snapchat.

While some parents are relaxed about their children using phones and tablets for extended periods of time – 22% say ‘they aren’t bothered at all’ and 16% say they ‘don’t care as long as it keeps them quiet’ – others have concerns. When questioned, 20% of parents said they would rather their children engaged with other people in the car, nearly a quarter (22%) say they wish they would play traditional games instead, and almost one in five (18%) are worried this level of tech usage could be bad for their general health.

Tech in the car can also cause friction. Four in ten (40%) parents say phones and tablets cause arguments in the car, with 16% saying arguments are due to their children being glued to it, while 13% say they argue over who gets to use the phone or tablet.

However, no amount of technology is sufficient to stop children saying the dreaded words ‘are we there yet’ and ‘I need the loo’. On average, children now ask ‘are we there yet’ only 37 minutes into the journey and say they ‘need the loo’ after only 44 minutes – making the 37 to 44-minute period of a car journey the ‘seven minutes of doom’ when parents need to rush to find a suitable place for a break.

The research – which was conducted across several European countries – showed British children to be the most impatient in Europe. German children ask, ‘are we there yet’ on average after 45 minutes; French children after 44 minutes, Spanish children after 41 minutes and Irish children after 38 minutes.

On most occasions (64%) parents will wait until the next service station to allow their children to answer the call of nature, although 15% say they pull into the hard shoulder, and a strict 8% make their children wait until they reach the final destination.

It is hardly surprising then that many parents admit to the odd ‘fib’ ahead of a lengthy car journey – half of parents (50%) say they have told their children that a long car journey would be shorter than they expected it to be.

Ben Lawson, Vice President of Rental for Europe, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, says: “I have fond memories of playing games like i-spy in the car when I was a child. And like other parents, I still make the effort to play these games with my own children now, even though I also let them use tablets and phones once we’ve exhausted the amusement potential of car games.

“Our research shows that nine out of 10 people find it stressful to drive abroad on holiday – so keeping the children amused on longer trips means the parents can concentrate on the road – and of course, on finding that vital location for a loo break within 45 minutes!”

A year after it opened to the public on August 4, 2016, British Airways i360 will mark its first anniversary by thanking its customers and the city for their support.

As part of the celebrations:

  • All customers taking a flight on the British Airways i360 pod on August 4, 2017, will be offered a birthday cupcake. A live band will perform on site in the afternoon and there will be free face-painting for children.
  • Customers on the 2pm flight on August 4, which marks the moment the attraction opened to the public last year, will also be welcomed with free drinks from the Nyetimber Sky Bar.
  • Any customers born on August 4 will be given a free flight on their birthday, subject to availability*.
  • The attraction's 26,000 Resident Members will have their membership extended free of charge, meaning they can continue to enjoy half-price tickets for another 12 months**. Time restrictions on usage have also been lifted so that Resident Member discounts apply at any time of day, year-round.
  • In addition to the 39,000 free tickets given to the city's school children in the last year, British Airways i360 will send free tickets to children starting reception classes in Brighton & Hove state schools in autumn 2017.
  • The Belle Vue restaurant at British Airways i360 closes today (July 24) for a refit, and will re-open under a new name – the West Beach Bar & Kitchen, in time for the first-year anniversary. Celebrated local neon artist Andy Doig is creating a bespoke piece for the bar area and artwork by other Brighton artists will be displayed for sale year-round. Please see supplementary press release w/c July 31 for full information about the West Beach Bar & Kitchen.
British Airways i360 Executive Director Steve Bax said: “A year after it opened, British Airways i360 is giving inspiration and delight to hundreds of thousands of people. Nearly 80% of our customers rate us as 'excellent' or 'very good' on TripAdvisor, and according to the Brighton Visitor Survey 2016***, we are the most-visited paid-for attraction in the city.

“As we mark our first birthday next week, everyone at British Airways i360 will be celebrating the enormous achievements of the past year and the benefits the project has brought to Brighton & Hove. Most importantly, we will be thanking the city and our customers for their fantastic support.”

British Airways i360 was conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, and was part-funded by a capital loan from the Public Works Loan Board via Brighton & Hove City Council. The council earns around £1m a year from interest on the loan, plus additional income from business rates and 1% of BA i360 ticket sales in perpetuity.

British Airways i360 Chairman David Marks said: “Over the last year, British Airways i360 has paid £2.6m to Brighton & Hove City Council in loan repayments, money the council is now using to regenerate the seafront. British Airways i360 has created 150 new local jobs, given away 39,000 tickets to the city's school children and won eight prestigious awards for design and innovation.”

Pupils from dozens of local schools were honoured for their creative talents at a glittering awards bash.

The annual Digital Learning Awards – The Digis – took place at the Grand Theatre earlier this month and celebrated the achievements of children and young people and their teachers in film and digital media creativity.

Around 500 entries were submitted into a range of categories by pupils from schools across Wolverhampton, including animation, publication, music, short film, audio, artwork, photography and design. There were also awards for the best computer game or programme, most innovative practice and a collaborative online writing project.

Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Elias Mattu, who opened the awards ceremony, said: "The Digis has once again highlighted the immense talent we have in our City's schools.

"We had excellent and deserving winners across all age groups and I know the judges had a tough time selecting them as all the entries were impressive.

"The students, and their teachers, worked hard for their awards, and it was a real pleasure to be part of such an uplifting event."

Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, added: "ICT is a very important part of the curriculum and pupils and staff in our schools have access to a range of fantastic software which enables our children to be wonderfully creative, producing animations, artwork, films and podcasts.

"I am delighted to see the hard work of young people and teachers recognised in this way and everyone concerned should feel rightly proud of their efforts."

Among the winners and finalist winners in Early Years and Key Stage 1 were pupils from D'Eyncourt, Perry Hall, Bilston CE, Villiers, Wilkinson, Dunstall Hill, West Park, Oak Meadow, St Stephen's CE, St Alban's CE, Merridale, Stowlawn, St Alban’s CE, St Michael’s CE, Loxdale, Graiseley, St Luke’s CE, St Anthony’s Catholic, Eastfield and Merridale primary schools, Phoenix Nursery, Penn Fields and Green Park schools and Broadmeadow Special School.

Winners and finalists at Key Stage 2 to 5 included pupils from St Stephen's CE, Bilston CE, Dunstall Hill, D'Eyncourt, Dovecotes, Berrybrook, Merridale, Oak Meadow, Wilkinson, Eastfield, Trinity CE, Green Park, Palmers Cross, St Alban's CE, St Luke's CE, Goldthorn Park, St Anthony’s Catholic, West Park, Graiseley, St Michael’s CE, St Patrick’s Catholic, Long Knowle and St Paul’s CE primary schools, Highfields School, The Royal School, Heath Park School, St Matthias, St Edmunds Catholic, The King's CE School, Penn Hall School, Penn Fields School and Tettenhall Wood.


The UK’s largest hearing loss charity, Action on Hearing Loss, is urging GPs and other health and social care practitioners in Ythe West Midlands to ensure that the 433,500 local residents who are deaf or have hearing loss receive the right communication support.

The call comes as a review by NHS England published today (date)  found that almost a year since the Accessible Information Standard became law, more than half of patients who responded to a survey have not noticed any improvement in getting accessible information or communication support from NHS services.

The Standard, which was put into force on August 1 2016, requires all publicly funded health and adult social care organisations to meet the communication needs of people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss, including the one in six people living with hearing loss and deafness.

The review found that more than two-thirds of patients had not been asked about their information and communication needs by NHS services over the last six months. Almost a third of patients also reported that they do not usually get or have never received the communication support they need from NHS services. Many people with deafness and hearing loss still struggled to contact GP and hospital services when they needed to, and felt that staff did not know how to communicate with them.

The release of the review comes ahead of Care Quality Commission (CQC) plans to incorporateadherence to the Accessible Information Standard into its inspection criteria. This is due to come into effect in October.

Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “The Accessible Information Standard was an important milestone – for the first time, health and social care organisations have been required by law to record and meet the communication needs of people with hearing loss. It is clear, however, that more work is needed to ensure it is consistently implemented and enforced.

“People who are deaf or have hearing loss have long been denied the fundamental right to have equal access to the full benefits of our healthcare system and we believe that the Standard, properly implemented, will have a great impact. While we know that some patients have seen improvements, it’s vitally important that all patients with communication needs are experiencing tangible, positive change.”

One patient with hearing loss who responded to the survey said, “I am unable to use the phone and my GP and NHS hospital services are unable to communicate with [me] in any other way, SMS, live chat, email, etc. so booking appointments, getting test results, and getting advice from a GP on the phone is impossible. [It is] the same with the NHS 111 service.”

Another patient, who is deaf and has had a positive experience, said, “In the last six months the service has improved with more communication support at the hospital, they always ask if we need British Sign Language support, and I always say yes.”

The charity worked with NHS England on the development of the Standard to address the fact that prior to its implementation, more than a quarter of patients with hearing loss did not understand their diagnosis after visiting their GP and two in three British Sign Language (BSL) users did not get an interpreter.