Colors: Blue Color

During December, the cathedral will play host to over 50 special services, concerts and events. The season began with a record-breaking St Basils SleepOut, where local people slept out in Cathedral Square to raise money for the youth homelessness charity, St Basils. December will encompass events as diverse as the traditional Swedish ‘Santa Lucia’ service with Ex Cathedra Choir, ‘Carols for the Business Community’ with brass band, and a screening of the film ‘It’s a wonderful life.’

It’s something ambulance staff hear most weekends from the ‘friends’ of drunk patients we’re trying to treat. When you’re out this festive period, we’re urging people to look after each other by sticking together and keeping an eye on what your friends are drinking so that the skills of ambulance staff are reserved for saving lives rather than babysitting people who have simply had too much to drink.

Unwanted, good quality toys that would otherwise be destined for the tip will be cheering up needy children this Christmas. Workers at Sandwell’s household recycling centre in Oldbury are being Santa’s little helpers by collecting unwanted toys to donate to families. The project is being run with children from Bristnall Hall Academy, former recycling centre worker Tony Martin and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Health Visiting Services.

Take a sneaky peak behind the scenes and discover the unique craftsmanship and engineering skills that keep the nation's beautiful waterways open for everyone to enjoy. Throughout the winter the Canal & River Trust will be holding free open days so that you can delve deeper into history. For budding builders, engineers and architects it's a chance to pull on your wellies and get muddy discovering how the canals were constructed, walk in the footsteps of the original Victorian engineers and try the traditional construction methods of puddling or mixing lime mortar. 

Helen Brook, founder of Brook - the UK’s leading sexual health and wellbeing charity for young people - has been honoured in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List for her crusade to help unmarried women in the 1960s. This year’s Power List celebrates seven women who have made the biggest impact on women’s lives over the past seven decades. The first Brook clinic opened in 1964 with the aim of offering accessible support and contraception to unmarried women and reducing the number of illegal abortions.

It’s the busiest social time of the year, with many of us looking forward to catching up with family, friends and colleagues. Or are we? For a new study by Fisherman’s Friend suggests that as many as two out of five in the West Midlands (40.42%) will have no qualms about inventing or exaggerating minor ailments in order to get out of unwelcome parties and social functions this Christmas.

The second series of a six-part ITV documentary set onboard a Princess Cruises ship will air from Thursday January 12 at 8.30pm. 'The Cruise' reveals what life is like for crew and guests onboard the 3,560-guest Royal Princess. The second series was filmed in the Mediterranean this summer. Hugh Bonneville, who provided the voiceover for the first series, will reprise his role for series two. Royal Princess was launched in 2013 in Southampton by HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge.

Impulse buying is putting the health and welfare of millions of West Midlands pets at risk, according to new research from the UK’s leading vet charity. The latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report reveals that over a quarter (27%) of West Midlands pet owners no research at all before taking on a new pet, compared with the national average of 24%.  This means that many do not know enough about what’s needed to ensure their pet’s health and welfare.

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, will be delivering hampers to homeless dogs this Christmas after 170 homelessness organisations requested parcels for 1200 dogs. With the number of people rough sleeping in England doubling since 2010, this service is as vital as ever. The charity will be delivering gifts to homelessness organisations in Birmingham for almost 30 dogs.

A local couple’s generosity will put a roof over the heads of some of Birmingham’s most vulnerable people over Christmas. Steph and Matthew Neville have donated a house where people can live while they seek asylum in the city. After seeing the plight of asylum seekers left homeless and destitute on the streets of Birmingham, the couple decided to donate their house. To help cover the costs of maintaining the house, the couple have also raised nearly £5,000 with family, friends and other local people.

Generous Tesco customers got into the festive spirit by donating more than 2.8 million meals to people in need during the ninth Neighbourhood Food Collection, which took place between 1 and 3 December. This collection brings the total number of meals collected by Tesco customers to an astounding 41 million since the programme began in 2012. The collection provides essential food for people in need over the festive period and beyond, and will now be redistributed through foodbank charity, The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity, FareShare.

Christmas comes early to Central Library with an afternoon of festive fun and games for younger visitors. It is holding Christmas Crackers on Thursday 22 December, featuring Christmas story-telling and crafts, a magic show and balloon making, and carol singing with the City of Wolverhampton Council Choir. There will also be the chance to win a family ticket to see this year's big pantomime, Aladdin, courtesy of the Grand Theatre by taking part in a wordsearch competition.

John Taylor Hospice is looking for craftspeople, DIY experts and artists to run workshops for patients, families and local people. The workshops and groups will all take place in the hospice’s newly launched Moments Shed, which is housed in the grounds of the hospice in Erdington. The inspiration for Moments Shed came from John Taylor’s Well-Being and Heart of the Hospice Teams to encourage patients and families to find emotional support through coming together and enjoying practical tasks.

One in three vets who treat pets have seen puppies they believe to have been illegally imported from overseas in the last year, according to figures released by the UK's leading body for vets the British Veterinary Association (BVA). BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession, which surveyed over 1,000 vets from across the UK, revealed that vets’ suspicions had been raised for several reasons including foreign microchips and the puppy’s age not matching the age given in its passports, with some vets also citing the puppy’s health as a problem after seeing cases of parvovirus and kennel cough.

Birmingham St Mary's Hospice is bringing families from across Birmingham and Sandwell together to remember a lost loved one this Christmas.The Hospice’s ‘Light up a Life’ event gives people the opportunity to celebrate and remember the lives of those no longer with us. Each year, hundreds of people take part in the celebration, whether or not they have been directly supported by Birmingham St Mary's Hospice. Two ceremonies will be taking place on Thursday 15th December at 4.30pm and 7.30pm, lasting for approximately an hour and a half each.

Patients from Birmingham Children’s Hospital were amongst the first to enter House of Fraser’s magical Christmas grotto last night, when it opened its doors for the festive season. The youngsters, which included seven-year-old Matilda Hatton from Walsall and nine-year-old Skye Gardner from Wolverhampton, were invited to officially open the grotto in celebration that £1.20 from every ticket purchased will support the fantastic work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.