Colors: Blue Color

A Birmingham volunteer has received a prestigious, national accolade to honour 20-years of dedicated voluntary service.

Michael Price, a catering volunteer at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, took home the acclaimed ‘Badge of the Order of Mercy’– a century-old award given by The League of Mercy Foundation.

The former building society manager from Bromsgrove was presented with the distinguished medal after spending two decades in charge of the kitchen trolley, providing individuals on the Hospice’s inpatient unit with meals, drinks and a listening ear.

He was nominated for the award by colleagues at the Hospice – which provides vital care and support to families living with terminal illness – who wanted his exceptional commitment and hard work formally recognised.

The 84-year-old was presented the medal by Lord Lingfield, president of the League of Mercy Foundation, at a ceremony at Mansion House in London earlier this week. It was awarded to just 25 outstanding volunteers across the UK, who have spent at least seven years supporting others in an area of care.

Speaking of his award win, Michael Price said: “All the volunteers at Birmingham St Mary’s do fantastic work so I don’t feel very deserving of this award. However, I am incredibly grateful to have won and have had an excellent day celebrating at Mansion House.

“Volunteering has given me a great sense of purpose – it feels like you’re doing something useful. The Hospice has given so much to the community and so it’s brilliant to be able to support them and give back.”

Tina Swani, CEO of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, added: “Michael is a perfect gentleman who demonstrates the utmost care and respect for everyone. He is incredibly popular – both with staff and individuals on our inpatient unit – and is an absolute asset to our catering team. His dedication and high-standard of work helps us to continue to deliver the best experience of living to local families using our services.

“The Badge of the Order of Mercy is an outstanding achievement and we’re thrilled that Michael was one of the few to be honoured on the day.”

Lord Lingfield, President of the League of Mercy, said: “Michael has done extraordinary work for those most in need. He is a marvellous example of someone whose longstanding and voluntary dedication to the service and welfare of others is noteworthy and remarkable and we were delighted to be able to make this well deserved award to him.”


Lidl’s new distribution centre in Wednesbury has donated more than two tonnes of compost to Sandwell Council which will be used at local parks and allotments.

Lidl intends to provide compost to Sandwell Council throughout the year to help keep parks and allotments looking attractive and kept well maintained.

Richard Cooper, recycling manager for Lidl's new distribution centre in Wednesbury, said: “Part of my role is to manage the recycling of all store returns.

“This partnership with Sandwell Council will reduce waste at our facility and assist the parks department to improve their green spaces.”

Councillor Richard Marshall, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s brilliant that Lidl has donated this compost. This will help to keep our parks and green spaces looking great all year round.”

Sand le Mere Holiday Village in Withernsea on the Yorkshire coast has become the first holiday park in the UK to launch a sensory playroom for children with autism, ADHD and Asperger's syndrome. Sand le Mere Holiday Village in Withernsea on the Yorkshire coast has become the first holiday park in the UK to launch a sensory playroom for children with autism, ADHD and Asperger's syndrome.

Sonny's Sensory Room is furnished with bright and tactile equipment to provide a stimulating setting in an environment that is safe for youngsters.

The space is equipped with brightly lit bubble tubes, sensory wall art, a star cloth and changing lights, multi-coloured flooring, bean bags, rollers and gym balls.

A second room provides a quiet setting where parents can relax or calm youngsters who become distressed.

The space has been named after Sonny Cooke, whose dad Allan is Complex Manager at Sand le Mere and had the original idea for the project.

Says Allan, "As a parent of a child with autism I see the wonderful benefits a sensory room provides. Going on holiday can be a scary experience for people with autism, ADHD or Asperger's syndrome and the transition from home to a new environment causes lots of anxiety, so having a safe and calming place helps to ease their worries.

“I feel like I've been on an emotional roller coaster during the development but I am very proud of the effort and enthusiasm so many people have put into creating the space.” Sonny's Sensory Room is free-to-use for guests staying at the Yorkshire Coast holiday park and is also available to local charities and groups.

Support for the project has come from suppliers who gave money, equipment and their installation skills, and from Sand le Mere team members who volunteered to renovate the room.

Amby Tatla, General Manager at Sand le Mere says the park is encouraging local groups to use make use of the sensory room: “We are proud to work closely with groups such as Hull Active Day Care, who support young adults with additional needs and visit the park to swim, eat lunch and play sport.

“Having our own dedicated sensory space means that we can provide support to even more people, and we would be delighted to hear from any groups who are interested in finding out more.”

Over the past few years Sand le Mere has invested more than £9 million in new facilities including an indoor swimming pool, entertainment lounge and restaurant for holidaymakers and holiday home owners.

The Library of Birmingham has been included in a set of new Special Stamps issued by Royal Mail that celebrate 10 iconic buildings in the UK.

Designed by Francine Houben, of the Dutch architectural practice Mecanoo, the Library of Birmingham has been designed to be a “people’s palace” – a grand structure that celebrates the importance of learning but which also “promotes the informal” and “seduces people into coming in”.

Houben believes that libraries are “the cathedrals of nowadays” and “the most important public buildings”.

The exterior of the ten-storey building is wrapped in broad bands of gold and silver cladding, overlaid with a filigree pattern of interlocking circles in thin sections of aluminium.

Inside, a large cylindrical void rises through the centre, criss-crossed by blue-lit escalators and giving access to many different uses, including adult and children’s libraries, a musical collection, a studio theatre, an exhibition gallery and the Shakespeare Memorial Room, whose ornate timber interior was originally created in 1882 and reinstalled at the top of the new building.

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The fact that the Library of Birmingham is included in this series of stamps seals the city’s national and international reputation –  Birmingham is now officially first class!

“The Library of Birmingham has become an iconic part of the city’s skyline and it attracts visitors from around the city, the UK and the world who come to see our Shakespeare collection, beautiful terraces and admire its architecture. I’m thrilled Royal Mail recognise it as a landmark building.”

Francine Houben, Founding Architect of Mecanoo, said: "Our dream was to create a People's Palace: inviting, welcoming, and inspiring for all ages and backgrounds. Where visitors embark on a journey of discovery, moving from one floor to the next through a sequence of rotundas. The repeating circles of the facade create a continuously changing world of light, shadows and reflections inside the building. To have a building on a UK stamp is a great honour for a Dutch architect."

Philip Parker, Stamp Strategy Manager, Royal Mail, said: “These new stamps celebrate visionary buildings which combine stunning architecture with great engineering.”

The images on the stamps capture the distinctive lines and shapes of the structures that have become famous landmarks.

Also featured in the set are: the London Aquatics Centre; the SEC Armadillo, Glasgow; the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh; Giants’ Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland; the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff; the Eden Project, St Austell; the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool; the IWM North, Manchester and the Blavatnik Building – formerly Switch House, Tate Modern, London.

The past two decades has seen a surge in the construction of new public buildings in the UK.

A great many of these adventurous and innovative structures, serving culture, sport, government and business, have since become popular and integral parts of their local landscapes, often playing a part in regeneration.

Some were initiated by central government, some by civic leaders of major cities, and others were the ideas of passionate individuals.

There has also been a renewal of confidence in British architecture led by world-famous architects including Zaha Hadid, Lord Richard Rogers and Lord Norman Foster, along with a host of other talents.

The countdown is on as nominations open for the fifth annual Haringey Outstanding for All awards.

The awards celebrate the fantastic achievements of the teachers, students, staff and governors whose phenomenal efforts have helped make education in Haringey top class.

Accolades are up for grabs in a range of categories that highlight exceptional achievements in teaching and learning, and this year’s ceremony will see the introduction of an Apprentice of the Year Award.

Cllr Elin Weston, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:

“With Haringey’s schools continuing to go from strength-to-strength – with all secondary and special schools, and almost 98 percent of primary schools, rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – this year’s awards will be a great opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to the exceptional people that make education in Haringey amongst the best in the country.

“Every day, school staff across the borough make a huge contribution to children’s learning development, while pupils and students are going above and beyond with exceptional achievements. The Outstanding for All Awards are our opportunity to shine the spotlight on those success stories. If you know of any individuals or schools that deserve recognition, make sure you nominate them for the Outstanding for All awards.”

The twelve categories are:

Support Staff of the Year Award Achievement in Arts Award Achievement in Sport Award Early Years Champion Award Governor of the Year Award Teacher of the Year Award STEM Achievement Award – Primary STEM Achievement Award – Secondary Overcoming Adversity Award Community Hero Award Apprentice of the Year Award The Councillor Egan Achievement Award

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah has announced a final chance for British fans to see him compete on the track at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday 20 August.

Farah, one of Britain’s sporting legends, will receive a hero’s send-off from his legions of loyal fans as he races at the Alexander Stadium in the prestigious IAAF Diamond League event.

Farah said: “I’m really looking forward to what will be my final track race in Britain at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on August 20, and I’m sure it will be a day I remember for the rest of my life.

“To get the opportunity to say goodbye to the track in front of a British crowd is something that means a lot to me and I hope I can take everything in. I’ve run many great races at the Alexander Stadium over the years, and have a history there, so it’s a fitting venue for my last track race.”

Farah was victorious at the Müller Anniversary Games on Sunday as he finalised his World Championships preparations with a win the 3000m with a time of 7:35.15.

The five-time world champion could well be sporting two more gold medals at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, as it takes place exactly one week after the end of the IAAF World Championships in London which run from 4-13 August.

Farah added: “The meet is only a week after the World Championships so it will be a great chance for the fans who didn’t make it down to London to see me race.

“I’ve had fantastic support throughout my career from people all over the UK, and the atmosphere in Birmingham is always amazing, so I’ll be looking for a good final performance to thank the fans for all their support over the years.”

A host of Olympic and world medallists will also compete at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, many of whom will have recently won medals at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, who support and help to organise the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, said: “We are delighted that Sir Mo Farah has selected Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium as the venue for his last ever British track race. We are lucky to have witnessed some amazing performances from Mo in Birmingham and I’m sure this race will be no exception.

“Birmingham loves sport, and athletics in particular, so I am sure that people from across the city will flock to the stadium to give this legend of the sport the send-off that he truly deserves, as he calls time on his illustrious track career.

“The Birmingham Alexander Stadium is steeped in athletics history and is the home of British Athletics, so there couldn’t be a better venue for a race of such significance and for this Diamond League event. This venue will continue to be the perfect stage for world class athletes to perform on, for many years to come.”

Learners, their tutors and volunteers have been recognised for their achievements and commitment to adult learning in Sandwell.

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) hosted a Festival of Learning celebration at The Bethal Convention Centre, West Bromwich which saw around a dozen awards presented.

The event highlighted the benefits of learning and the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives, and to encourage everyone to embrace lifelong learning.

The awards evening recognised both learners' achievements and the valued contributions made by all those involved in creating and inspiring effective learning across Sandwell.

Each person nominated for an award has either overcome personal challenges to acheive and learn, or made a significant contribution to support learning across Sandwell.

The awards were presented and the winners congratulated by the Deputy Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Susan Eaves and Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children's service who also has responsibilities for adult learning in Sandwell.

"It was a great privilege to be invited to attend this amazing event.

"All the winners of these awards have shown outstanding qualities and commitment to adult learning in Sandwell.

"I have also come back to learning as an adult so really appreciate how much dedication and effort goes into both learning and tutoring.

"I want to congratulate everyone who got an award and hope this will encourage others to look at the benefits of adult learning."

The winners were: * Outstanding group award: Coneygre Performing Arts Group who performed a dance routine at the event. * Community learning award: Andrea Treagust * Commitment to learning: Shardaben Patel * Support staff award: Kirit Vadukul * Learning towards employment award: Sandra Blake * Outstanding volunteer award: Lynette Simmonds * Functional skills towards employment award: Pershi Dujja * Tutor award: Parmjit Bedesha * Functional skills progression award: Marie Lodge

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) offers a massive range of courses to suit learners' abilities and needs.

From learning English and maths skills, gaining qualifications or learning a new language, SAFL provides courses in a wide range of subjects.

They also offer courses to help with CV writing and interview skills and even courses to learn a new hobby such as knitting.

Thousands of households across the Midlands could be missing out on lower water bills because they are unaware they can trial a meter for up to two years, the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has warned.

The consumer watchdog is concerned only one in five water customers of Severn Trent Water and South Staffs Water who pay fixed charges know they can trial a meter and switch back for free if they don’t save money or decide it’s not for them.

The findings emerged from CCWater’s Water Matters survey, which also showed that one in eight water customers felt their water bills were not affordable.

CCWater is now urging customers to use its online water meter calculator to see whether they might be better off switching to a meter, before taking the plunge.

Professor Bernard Crump, Central and Eastern Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “A water meter will not benefit everyone but we know that in some cases households can save more than £100 a year. Even the smallest saving could make all the difference to customers who are struggling to make ends meet.”

“Almost everyone who opts for a meter chooses to stick with it, but many customers need that assurance they can switch back anytime within the trial period.”

As a general rule of thumb, it’s worth a customer considering a water meter if they have the same or more bedrooms than people living in their property.

CCWater’s water meter calculator has helped almost 270,000 consumers identify potential annual savings totalling more than £14.5 million during the past year.

Respite holiday charity Revitalise has responded to Carers UK’s State of Caring 2017 report, echoing its call for immediate practical action in order to make a difference to carers’ lives.

The findings of the report strongly echoed research conducted by Revitalise over recent years, painting an all too familiar picture of the plight of the UK’s estimated 6.8 million unpaid carers.

In agreement with Carers UK, Revitalise’s research found that many carers maintain their role for long periods of time, with little or no time off. A third of carers told the charity they had not had any significant time off since they started caring, with 90% not able to access proper holidays away from caring.

In a separate study, the charity also found evidence that being unable to access respite breaks has a noticeable impact on carers’ emotional and physical wellbeing. 60% of carers admitted that they felt unable to ‘switch off’ from their caring role, with over 6 out of 10 (63%) saying that they felt mentally exhausted and over half (52%) saying they didn’t know how they would be able to cope if things continued the way they were.

Revitalise’s research also made clear that the concerns expressed by carers did not lend themselves to an optimistic outlook for the future. 4 out of 10 unpaid carers also voiced trepidation that they would end up ill, in chronic pain or disabled themselves.

In light of Carers UK’s State of Caring 2017 report and its own research, Revitalise is showing its support for unpaid carers all across the UK, calling for immediate action and greater statutory support for social care services, particularly in the respect of greater provision of respite breaks.

Revitalise CEO Chris Simmonds commented:

“While the recent report by Carers UK has quite rightly been receiving the media attention it deserves, it saddens me to say that to charities like Revitalise, which supports disabled people and carers, this news is all too familiar.

“Unpaid carers give so much, day in, day out, to support the person they care for, but need the escape valve of regular time off in order to continue their caring role.

“This is why we are demanding better statutory services and funding - and especially access to proper breaks – for carers and those they care for.”

Revitalise is a national charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers, combining 24-hour nurse-led care with a real holiday experience at its three accessible UK holiday centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport. Each centre offers a wide range of accessible activities and excursions in a holiday environment.

More than 200 young people attended an event to find out more about apprenticeships with Sandwell Council.

The event at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury also saw 107 young people enrol on the Black Country Impact programme to get help onto the career ladder.

More than 200 people came through the doors throughout the day, plus parents and grandparents supporting young people interested in starting an apprenticeship, getting training and gaining support.

Funded by the government, Europe and the Big Lottery Fund, Black Country Impact is working with the public, private and voluntary sectors to help young adults break down the barriers that may be holding them back from finding work, improving their skills or gaining qualifications.

The council’s Think Sandwell employment team will now work with everyone who signed up to help them find an apprenticeships with the council and local businesses, as well as jobs and training.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Simon Hackett said: “It was a great event and lots of young people talked to me to say how helpful it was.

“The council is committed to supporting young people to help them get on the career ladder.

“One of the best aspects of the event was that we had apprentices currently working for the council talking to other young people interested in an apprenticeship."

Following the success of Jamaica50, in 2012, and the Jamaican Track and Field Team being based in the city, pre-London Olympics, Birmingham, again, is set to hold what is said to be the biggest party this summer, hosting ‘Jamaica In The Square II,’ with its athletes – Usain Bolt et all - returning to the University of Birmingham ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London in August.

Launching what promises to be the city’s biggest outdoor cultural event of the year, a host of the country’s leading dignitaries, business leaders, entrepreneurs and sporting celebrities gathered at the Velvet Rooms, on the famed Broad Street, to get a flavour of what’s to come, with a sprinkling of music, food and colour filling the air and getting guests, and onlookers, in the mood to party.

“I know ‘Jamaica in the Square’ is going to be massive for Birmingham,” special guest, His Excellency Mr. Seth George Ramocan, High Commissioner for Jamaica in the UK, said. “Jamaica55 is going to be a proud time to celebrate the incredible contributions, great struggles and endless achievements maid by Jamaicans, both at home and abroad.

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Birmingham City Council’s Assistant Director of Sport, Events and Parks, Steve Hollingworth, emphasized his, and the City’s achievement at facilitating Jamaica55 and bringing the Jamaican Track & Field Team back to the city. He said: “We are hugely proud to be celebrating Jamaica’s 55th Anniversary with the 3-day party in Victoria Square. Thank You to the organisers, the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham), whose tireless work promises a fantastic weekend ahead. And, thanks to Jamaica’s Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, for her part in not only facilitating proceedings over there, but for making sure that the legacy created between Birmingham and Jamaica – post-London2012 – is ongoing for years to come.”

“Stand tall and proud in the Square - Jamaica salutes you,” said H.C. Ramocan.

'Jamaica In The Square’ takes place, in and around Victoria Square, between August 6 and 8. the IAAF World Championships in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park takes place from August 4 to 13,, whilst the World Para Athletics Championships is between July 14 and 23.











A leading health charity is urging parents to be on the lookout for their children grinding their teeth, as its revealed to be major sign that their child could be being bullied.

New research has revealed that adolescents who suffer from bullying are far more likely to grind their teeth in their sleep, a sign which could help parents identify victimised children sooner.

The study, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, found that teenagers who were subjected to verbal bullying in school were almost four times as likely to suffer from sleep bruxism (65%) compared to those who were not (17%).

Sleep bruxism is when you grind your teeth in your sleep and over time can lead to major oral health problems, including migraines, sensitive and worn teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, loosing of teeth and severe oral pain and can lead to irreparable damage.

The Oral Health Foundation, is urging parents, carers and schools to be alert to students complaining of oral health problems and symptoms related to bruxism as a signifier of them being bullied so that they help can tackle to issue.

Speaking on the issue Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "Bullying of any form is absolutely abhorrent and can have a both physical and psychological impact, and when experienced in childhood, can lead to trauma that might last throughout adulthood.

“Grinding teeth may not sound like priority within the wider picture but it could prove to give a vital insight into a child’s state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.

“Both children and adults tend to grind their teeth when suffering from stress, and bullying is a significant contributor here. Sleep bruxism can be particularly damaging as we are often unaware that we do it. Many times, we learn that we grind our teeth by a loved one who hears the grinding at night.

“A dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up is the first tell-tale symptom of sleep bruxism and I urge parents, carers and schools to alert to children complaining of this regularly so they may be able to identify cases of bullying and address it.”

As well as drawing attention to this issue of sleep bruxism and bullying, the Oral Health Foundation is also aiming to raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and problems associated with bruxism more widely so that people who feel they are suffering from it can get it looked at.

Dr Carter added: “It is estimated that sleep bruxism affects more than six million people in the UK2, but many are entirely unaware of it.

“If you feel that you have any of these symptoms and may be suffering from sleep bruxism I urge you to visit your dentist who can assess you.

“They may choose to fit you with a custom dental appliance which will stop your teeth grinding together in a stressed manner.

“Suffers can also explore a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to get to the source of the problem.

“Making lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and managing stress can also help alleviate the problem.”

If you wish to discuss the issue of sleep bruxism further the Oral Health Foundation offers expert, impartial and free advice through their Dental Helpline.

Birmingham Airport has seen another month of record breaking growth this year. Figures for June have revealed the Midlands gateway saw over 1.3 million passengers travel through the terminal – giving 16.4 percent growth when compared to the same month last year.

In total 1,301,962 passengers flew through Birmingham – over 183,000 more than the same month in 2016.

Short haul saw a very significant rate of growth at 17.8% whereas long haul services saw a smaller 2.7% increase.

David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham Airport, said: “June was our twenty eighth consecutive month of record breaking growth, it’s also the third month this year in which we have seen over a million passengers. These are both fantastic achievements and show how Birmingham Airport’s popularity is rapidly growing.

“We are now fully into the busy summer season and so we expect figures for the next few months to remain very healthy.”

Scheduled traffic accounted for 88 per cent of the total, with charter passengers making up the remaining 12 per cent.

New parents and mothers-to-be can get information and support about feeding their baby at a free event taking place to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

Pregnant women, new parents and families with young children can find out more about feeding their baby as well as other issues including reflexology, slings, hypnobirthing, baby massage and baby yoga at the event at Low Hill Strengthening Families Hub on Thursday 3 August.

Experts from the City of Wolverhampton Council's Public Health Team, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust's Infant Feeding Team, the Healthy Lifestyles Team and Health Visitors will be on hand to offer advice and guidance, while families will be able to meet other parents, share experiences and learn new skills. Refreshments will be available, along with activities to keep babies and toddlers occupied.

Lisa Raghunanan, Strengthening Families Partnership Manager, said: "The aim of the event is to support mothers and families to get the information they need to make a fully informed choice on feeding their baby, to support and develop their parent-infant relationships, and also to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.”

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, added: "This event is part of the ongoing work of Public Health, Early Years and Wolverhampton’s Infant Feeding Team to encourage more new mums in Wolverhampton to breastfeed.

“Research shows that babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop illnesses such as gastroenteritis and respiratory and ear infections. They are also less likely to be obese or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels – all risk factors for heart disease.

“New mothers, mums-to-be and families with young children can find out more about feeding their baby at this free event, as well as getting information and advice about a range of other issues which will benefit themselves and their new arrival."

More than 20 people went over the edge in a 170ft abseil to raise money for Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice.

Descending 17 floors from the roof of the city’s Park Regis Hotel, the abseilers have raised thousands of pounds to support local families.

It was the first abseil organised by the hospice which has cared for people with a terminal illness and their families for more than 100 years.

For many of the participants the event was the fulfilment of a lifetime ambition – but all agreed they were happy to put their feet back on solid ground.

Carl Oldacres, of Walsall, was taking part in memory of his dad Raymond who was cared for at John Taylor Hospice five years ago.

“They did such a good job at the hospice, they couldn’t have done any more for my dad and this is a way of saying thank you,” said 41-year-old Carl, who was cheered on by friends and family. “When my dad was at John Taylor Hospice they organised an 80th birthday party for him. It was his last wish to have that 80th birthday party and they did it all for him, they paid for it and everything. That is something you don’t forget.”

Abseiling in memory of her gran Enid Seeley was 27-year-old Kiran Seeley of Erdington. Enid was supported at home by the hospice teams after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

“The abseil was brilliant,” Kiran said. “When I went over the edge I looked down and my legs just went to jelly but I just kept going and then you get over that.”

Teams from fashion store Fat Face in Birmingham’s Grand Central and electrical parts retailer eSpares also took part in the event. Both companies are long-term supporters of John Taylor.

Dan Mavr, a 24-year-old production data assistant at Small Heath based eSpares, said: “I wanted to abseil today to help John Taylor Hospice – and for the thrill of it. It was really good.”

Staff members from John Taylor Hospice also joined the team including Head of Fundraising Katie Mitchell, PR and Media Officer Louise Allen and Community Fundraising Manager Darren Dudley.

Katie said: “A huge well done to all of our abseilers and thank you to the Park Regis Hotel for being such fantastic hosts. It was a great day and it was lovely to meet so many people for whom John Taylor Hospice is a special place which has made a massive difference by caring for their loved ones.

“There are lots of other ways for people to support the hospice’s valuable work. There’s still time to join our Great Birmingham Run team, there are places at our Masquerade Ball and all our other events are on our website.”

Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) have announced an Introduction to Directing course for West Midlands based new and emerging D/deaf and disabled directors in autumn 2017. The course will offer an amazing opportunity for anyone that has considered a career in directing or already has some experience but has faced barriers from pursuing it further.

The course, which is free to attend, will include weekly workshops with professional theatre directors and practitioners from both The REP and beyond focussing on the skills and resources individuals need to take work from the page to the stage and to continue to develop their craft.

The first workshop will begin on the evening of Wednesday 13 September 2017 and will run every week for 10 weeks culminating in a sharing of participants work to an invited audience.

Tessa Walker, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said:

“I am delighted that The REP and RTYDS are able to offer this unique opportunity to D/deaf and disabled directors from the region. To be able to welcome new directors into The REP and nurture and support them in the early stages of their directing life is a privilege and further strengthens our commitment to representing the diversity of our region in our theatre, in our stories and on our stages”.

Sue Emmas, Artistic Director, Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme said:

“Theatre needs to change.  We need to create an artistic democracy where the society around us is represented both on and off stage.  Directors can have the biggest impact.  They choose the stories to tell and the collaborators they work with to tell those stories. This is the first time the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme has run an Introduction to Directing for D/deaf and disabled new directors.  Be one of the artists who changes UK theatre.”

Priya Dosanjh, a previous participant on an RTYDS Introduction to Directing scheme at The REP also said:

“The Introduction to Directing course was a fantastic springboard for a career in theatre. Beyond the provision of a practical foundation in directing, it led to the ongoing support and mentorship of industry professionals. Within a year after concluding the course, I was assisting on a main house production - an opportunity that I was afforded as a direct consequence of my participation on the course. It’s an invaluable program for anybody in the foundling stages of their career.”

The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) is a professional artist development programme for new and emerging theatre directors in the UK. The scheme seeks out and nurtures the most talented theatre directors at the early stage of their careers; developing their skills and experience by placing them in the UK’s leading regional theatres and providing unique training and professional development opportunities.