Colors: Blue Color

A Stoke-on-Trent care team has fought off tough competition from across the country to clinch the title of ‘Residential Team of the Year’ at the first ever virtual National Care Group Annual Awards.

Almost 1,400 National Care Group colleagues from across England and Wales tuned into the online event, which was hosted by radio and television presenter Jo Whiley, and broadcast live - marking the biggest celebratory event the company has ever had.

The team at flat two Cauldon Place, Shelton Care, part of the National Care Group, is made up of 20 people and led by senior support worker Matt Burton. Together, they provide residential care to individuals with learning and physical disabilities as well as mental illness and autism spectrum disorders. The team has been recognised for delivering an outstanding level of service and setting the bar when it comes to teamwork, ensuring quality care for the people they support.

Matt, 36, of Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I couldn’t be prouder of what our team has achieved over the past year, and to be recognised as ‘Residential Care Team of the Year’ is a real honour.

“We’re a really tight knit team and we really care about what we do and then of course, throw Covid into the mix and we had a challenge. But we overcame it and pulled together – caring is what we do.  The team here is like an extended family. I have been at Cauldon Place for 13 years this year and I couldn’t be more pleased that we have received this award.”

James Allen, CEO of the National Care Group, said: “We were very impressed by the work Matt and his team have done over the past year. The nominations we received for them detailed the support they provided to a particular person within their care community, who they’ve guided and brought through an incredibly tough year.

“This individual has since moved to a different location due to a change in their needs, but that’s not stopped Matt and the team from keeping in touch and maintaining that all-important connection they worked so hard to establish. The fact that they’ve done this and also maintained exceptional levels of care for everyone else they support is truly remarkable – congratulations.”

Awards were also presented to winners in a number of other categories, including:

  • Support Worker of the Year;
  • Manager of the Year;
  • Supported Living Team of the Year;
  • Support Function of the Year;
  • Newcomer of the Year;
  • Making a Difference Award; and,
  • Executive Board Award for Outstanding Achievement.

There was also a special award given for the National Care Group’s’ Pandemic Star of the Year’, dedicated to, and in memory of, two colleagues who lost their lives to coronavirus, which was awarded following a live poll that took place during the event.

James added: “The theme for this year’s event was ‘unlocking your potential’ and all of our winners have not only done this for themselves but, crucially, have unlocked the potential of the individuals they support as well – and that’s at the heart of everything we do at the National Care Group.

“We were truly overwhelmed by the volume of nominations we received for this year’s awards, with more than 400 people placing their vote, meaning it was really difficult to choose the winners. We’ve seen some fantastic examples of innovation and ingenuity from so many people and, while it’s a shame we couldn’t celebrate their achievements in person, the fact the awards were virtual meant we were able to have more people join in the celebration than we could have otherwise.

“Everyone who attended the awards ceremony was not only given the opportunity to dress to the nines, but also to share photos of themselves on social media with a prize for ‘best dressed’ being given out. In my eyes, that interactive and all-encompassing element has been the best thing about the whole event and we’re now in a really good place to look forwards as the sector continues to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Local Worcestershire magistrate, Chris Devney, is once again putting his best foot forward for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, to raise funds for the lifesaving service and mark its 30th year in operation.

58-year-old Chris already challenged himself to walk 100km between two of the charity’s airbases last summer. To challenge himself again, and to mark the 30th anniversary of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, Chris will be walking between each of the charity’s airbases, three of the charity’s shops, its Stourbridge HQ and the original airbase at Hagley Hall.

The mammoth challenge (called Chris’s Air30 Walk) will take Chris, who is also a volunteer for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, six days to complete, and totals over 240km (150 miles), incorporating all of the charity’s places of importance from its 30-year history.

Fellow volunteer and town crier, Peder Nielson, will also be supporting at a number of locations as Chris arrives, marking his achievements along the way.

Commenting on the huge challenge he faces, Chris said: “In my former role as a police officer in Telford, Shropshire, I attended many road traffic collisions which required the help of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity aircrew, and I’ve seen first-hand the impact their clinical expertise can make on scene; literally saving lives.”

“Eleven years ago, I was sadly involved in a road traffic collision myself as a motorcyclist. It was thought at the scene that I would not survive, but on hearing the local air ambulance coming to my aid, I was confident I would be okay.

“Midlands Air Ambulance Charity provides a vital service to all communities of the six counties it serves, by providing critical care to those that require it, at the time they need it the most. ‘Chris’s Air30 Walk’ is the hardest physical challenge I’ll have ever taken on, and anything I raise will go to Midlands Air Ambulance Charity so they can continue saving lives.”

Chris will begin his journey on Sunday 9th May at 10am, starting at the Walsall charity shop, and will complete the challenge at the Strensham airbase on Friday 14th May.

There is an open invitation to anyone who wants to join Chris en-route (socially distanced, of course), whether that be for a few steps or a few miles. Chris will be easily trackable via his Facebook page.

Emma Gray, chief operating officer for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity said: “It’s commendable that Chris is once again taking on a huge challenge like this in support of our lifesaving charity, and his commitment to our cause shows no bounds.

“With no Government or NHS Charities Together funding, we’re so grateful to have people like Chris who continue to go above and beyond for our charity, to help us raise the funds we need to keep saving lives.”

Over 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for a memorial plaque in honour of Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole.

It comes after the 20-year-old - known to his friends as Jimi – was called a ‘hero’ after jumped into the River Thames, with a friend, to rescue a woman who had fallen in. Following the heroics, the City of London Police contacted the Royal Humane Society to nominate him, saying that it was absolutely the right thing to do and that his bravery and selfless actions be recognised.

Following that a spokesperson said: "We feel that is absolutely right to recognise the bravery and selfless actions of Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, known as Jimi.

"To honour his memory and heroism, we have contacted the Royal Humane Society to start the nomination process for their bravery award, and we are also looking to award Jimi a commissioner's commendation from the City of London Police. Our thoughts remain with his friends and family at this difficult time."

Olubunmi-Adewole was on his way back from a work shift at The Cinnamon Club Indian restaurant at around midnight when he saw the woman in distress. His body was recovered from the water six hours after he tried to rescue the woman who had fallen in. Sadly, he was no longer alive.

His friend and the woman were recovered from the water alive five hours beforehand, but rescue services had been unable to locate young Jimi. Some members of the public have nominated him for the George Cross - the highest award that the British government can give to people for non-operational gallantry - award for bravery posthumously.

Jimi’s father, Michael Adewola has also expressed that he would like the government to honour his son’s sacrifice. Signatories would like the plaque to be placed on London Bridge to honour his ‘bravery and act of heroism.’

As the statement issued by Buckingham Palace announced the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh tributes continued to poor in from well-wishers around the world, the Royal Family asked people to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving flowers in memory of him, with an online book of condolence being launched on the official royal website for those who wish to send messages.

Announcing his death, a statement read: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.

The Royal Family joined with people around the world in mourning his loss." The Queen spoke of her deep sorrow following her husband’s death at Windsor Castle. In his tribute, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that the Prince Philip inspired countless young people.

“The duke had earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world," he said. The government, however, did urge the public at large not to gather or leave tributes at royal residences amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A Statement from the Leaders of Birmingham’s Faith Communities on the occasion of the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip said: "Our thoughts and condolences are with Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family, and with the family of the Commonwealth and the wider world, which the Duke sought to serve with such distinction.

"We join with communities in this city and across the nation in mourning and in recognition of a long life of service. Our various faith communities will wish, in due course, to pay their respects to a man who, throughout his life championed faith co-operation, but for today we mourn with the sadness of the nation.

A message on the website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Archewell charity paid tribute to the memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, saying: "Thank you for your service... you will be greatly missed," whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “He "consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service."

As the flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast and a notice was posted on the gates to mark the duke's death, in their tribute to the duke, Westminster Abbey tolled its tenor bell once every 60 seconds for 99 times to honour each year of his life. People placed floral tributes outside the central London landmark, while hundreds visited Windsor Castle to pay their respects.

A strong-willed and independent man who found himself at the centre of British society, the longest-serving royal consort in British history – Greek-born of Danish blood (his parents were Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg - Queen Victoria's great-granddaughter) Prince Philip, who was born Philippos Andreou (Philip Andrew) of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glücksburg, Prince of Greece and Denmark, and whose family had a seafaring tradition saw him became a cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth. It was whilst there that he escort the two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the college.

Beginning his education in France, at the age of seven, he lived with his Mountbatten relatives in England, where he attended a prep school in Surrey. By this time, though, his mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was placed in an asylum. The young prince would have little contact with her.

In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in southern Germany, which was run by educational pioneer Kurt Hahn. But within months, Hahn, who was Jewish, was forced to flee Nazi persecution.

Passing out at the top of his class before seeing military action in the Indian Ocean, on the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet, he was mentioned for his part in the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941. He was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, serving on board the destroyer HMS Wallace.

As the officer in charge of the ship's searchlights, he played a crucial role in this decisive night action.

"I found another ship and it lit up the middle part of it,” he said, “whereupon it practically disappeared instantly under a salvo of 15in shells at point-blank range,"

Renouncing his Greek title, to become a British citizen, Philip – who was born on the island of Corfu - took his mother's anglicised name of Mountbatten before his engagement to the young Elizabeth was announced.

The day before their marriage ceremony, King George VI bestowed the title of His Royal Highness on him and on the morning of their wedding - in Westminster Abbey in 1947 - he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. “In the first years of the Queen's reign,” he once said, “the level of adulation - you wouldn't believe it. You really wouldn't.

Their son, Prince Charles, was born at Buckingham Palace in 1948, and a daughter, Princess Anne, arrived in 1950, before later being joined by Prince Andrew (1960) and Prince Edward (1964).

Widely praised for his commitment to preserving the world's forests and campaigning against overfishing in the oceans, Prince Philip also took a keen interest in industry, visiting factories and becoming patron of the Industrial Society, now known as the Work Foundation.

In 1956 he founded ‘The Duke of Edinburgh's Award’ - a youth awards programme founded in the United Kingdom - designed to attract boys who had not been interested in joining one of the main British youth movements, such as the Scout Association. It was not necessary to 'join' any organisation, or wear a uniform to participate.

In November 1957 it was announced that girls would be invited to participate. On 19 June 1958 the Award was extended to girls, with the first girls allowed to join in 1958. The programme for girls was not the same as that for boys, and was for ages 14 to 20.

The first girls received their Gold Awards on 3 November 1959 at Buckingham Palace. From January 1965, the Gold Award for boys and girls was made more similar. The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958, and the charity was established in 1959. A single programme for young people aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 years of age in 1980.

In 2013, the Duke presented Awards at St James's Palace which included his 500th Gold Award Presentation. His greatest achievement, it was said, was undoubtedly the constancy and strength of his support for the Queen in the long years of her reign. He believed his job was, as he told his biographer, "to ensure the Queen can reign."

All UK government buildings were told to fly official flags at half-mast in tribute to the Duke until 08:00 BST on the day after the duke's funeral.

From midday, a 41-gun salute will take place for Prince Philip in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as in Gibraltar and at sea from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence said. They will be broadcast online and on television for the public to watch from home.

He was 99.

Alena Maze, who is a wife, mother of 7, and a famous YouTuber, has successfully earned a Ph.D. in Survey Methodology. She is one of the first in the world to hold a doctorate degree in that field. She was inspired to pursue a career as a survey statistician because of her passion for math and health and she hopes to develop inclusivity in surveys.

After earning a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from Georgetown University, Maze went on to pursue her Ph.D. in Survey Methodology and Statistics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Most recently, she shared on Facebook that she has now received her Ph.D. after passing her dissertation defence and that she is the first African American to do so.

“What’s a Survey Methodologist? Well I’m a Survey Statistician, so specifically, I research the math behind surveys,” Maze wrote. “Suppose we want more information on how diabetes affects women ages 30-40, in order to develop better treatment courses.

“Well in a perfect world, we would like to send out a survey (i.e., a series of questions) to all women ages 30-40 with diabetes. However, this is not practical for many reasons. So instead we chose a smaller group (called a sample), say 2,000 women from that same population to represent the whole population of 30 to 40-year old women with diabetes.”

For nearly 6 years, Maze has been juggling her doctorate studies with her married life, raising her 7 children, and vlogging. She, with her Korean-American husband Joseph Lee, produces content for their vlogs with their children where they share their experiences as a multicultural blended family.

Maze, 35, has accomplished a lot of things through her hard work and she also credits God for her success. “During this time, I encountered God’s love, through a divine meeting with His Holy Spirit in a way I cannot wait to share.

“His love has been enough for me to manifest anything I desire to do, be or become,” she said.



The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree, OBE, has sent a letter of sympathy to The Queen following the announcement of the death of her consort which says:

“On behalf of the County of West Midlands we send our deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen. There is great sadness across the West Midlands at the death of His Royal Highness.  Our thoughts are with Her Majesty and the Royal family at this time.

“As an expression of our sadness, flags are flying at half-mast throughout the County.”

Mr Crabtree paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh and his lifetime of dedication to public service.

“His Royal Highness was a frequent visitor to the West Midlands and the people of this County welcomed him with great warmth. He had a wide variety of interests and supported many sporting events held here in the West Midlands, as well as business and arts projects.

“His contribution to the well-being and motivation of young people of this county through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has been terrific.   He has been a dynamic and highly motivating influence throughout his long years of service to this country, and as consort to The Queen.  I am sure I speak for all of the citizens of the West Midlands when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty at this very sad time.”

Further information is being made available on the website of the West Midlands’ Lieutenancy including links to each of the seven Council websites in the West Midlands. Council websites are also being updated to show a message from the Lord Mayor / Mayor and information about the where to locate a Book of Condolence: