Colors: Blue Color

Birmingham City Council's latest budget consultation gets underway next month when detailed proposals for 2016 onwards are published. And, even before the formal consultation begins, residents from across the city are already helping to shape the future of council services.

From 29 November, a stunning installation of 2000 golden boats is to be suspended as a flotilla high above the nave, opening the cathedral’s 300th Christmas celebrations. The Soul Boats have  been made and decorated by individuals of all faiths and backgrounds from across the city including groups from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Ravidassi , and of course Christian backgrounds.

Pope Francis condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris, forcefully condemned the terrorist attacks saying in a telephone call to TV2000, the television station of the Italian Episcopal Conference: “There is no justification for such things, neither religious nor human. This is not human. It is difficult to understand such things, done by human beings.” He said he was praying for the families of the victims, for France “and for all those who suffer.”

Moments Café, which opened this week alongside the LGBT Centre at Holloway Circus, will be serving freshly-made breakfasts and lunches, snacks, cakes and drinks. It is the first business venture for John Taylor Hospice, whose motto every moment matters was the source of inspiration for the café name.

The hospice hosts the event each year, bringing together friends and families from across Birmingham for an evening of readings, music and time for quiet reflection. “Join us in Erdington Central Square on Sunday 13 December from 6pm – everyone is welcome,” said Helen Cotter, spiritual care lead at John Taylor Hospice. “For people who have lost loved ones, times of year that are strongly associated with families and family celebrations can be hard to bear.

The man who locked up the JN Miller Ltd Steam Mill for the last time has welcomed the progress of the Wolverhampton Interchange project after taking a trip down memory lane. Norman Holding, aged 71, joined the Corn Hill-based company in 1960 after leaving school and worked his way up to become General Manager and a board Director.

The transformation of one of Tottenham’s oldest rail stations into a landmark spacious building with a striking copper-coloured steel facade will get underway next year after plans were approved by Haringey Council. Bruce Grove Station, on Tottenham High Road, will be extended with new space for a café or restaurant after Network Rail proposals were given the green light by the council’s Planning Committee.

The Leader of Sandwell Council has offered his condolences to the families of victims of the terrorist attacks that took place across Paris on Friday night. Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Barbara Price, will be writing a letter of support to the Mayor of Le Blanc-Mesnil - a town in the north eastern suburbs of Paris - which is twinned with Sandwell.

World Heritage Site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace will once again play host to the UK's premier picnic concert series as the Battle Proms returns to Woodstock on Saturday 16 July 2016.

Households are being warned not to give their home’s water pipes the cold shoulder this winter and wrap them up warm before temperatures plummet. The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has joined the Met Office and WaterSafe in urging consumers to take action now to protect their pipes from freezing and bursting in the icy grip of winter.

Shane Richie is set to reprise his role as host of the BBC Two Children in Need Appeal show at the Queen Vic on Friday 13 at 10pm. He will be joined by a whole host of famous faces as they pop into The Queen Vic to join in the fun. Shane says: “It is such an honour to be back behind the bar at The Queen Vic, once again hosting for Children in Need. We have some wonderful guests lined up this year with some great surprises - it is set to be a very special night.”

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to the men and women of the Armed Forces, past, present and future, at Wolverhampton's Observance of Remembrance. The annual ceremony began with a parade led by the Band of the West Midlands Fire Service through the city centre featuring detachments from ex-Service, Regular, Reserve, Cadet Units and representatives of other local uniformed organisations, before dignitaries gathered at the Cenotaph in St Peter's Square for the traditional Drumhead service.

West Midlands Police's plans for policing have been described as "outstanding" by the national police watchdog. The latest report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for England and Wales (HMIC) also highlights the tougher cuts being faced by West Midlands Police, compared to the rest of England and Wales.

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

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

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