Colors: Blue Color

The UK’s biggest mass-participation cycling event is coming to the East Midlands, kick starting a national summer of cycling this June for over half a million people.

Bike Week 2017 (10 – 18 June) is set to add another 500,000 people to the five million who already cycle three times or more a week.

From family friendly traffic-free rides, to bike breakfasts, and even naked bike rides, Bike Week brings together a host of hundreds of fun events across the UK to help make cycling a more accessible and attractive proposition to the many people who might just need a gentle nudge back into the saddle this summer.

Whether it’s for a fun leisurely off-road ride with family and friends, a chance to escape the daily grind and explore the countryside, or simply to avoid the traffic jams getting to work or on the school run, Bike Week provides a one stop shop of events and inspiration to get you out and about in the saddle. There are a wide range of events taking place across the county suitable for cyclists of all ages and levels of experience.

With cycling becoming more popular than ever, increasing numbers of people are taking up cycling as an easy and efficient way to travel. According to the National Travel Survey, over five million people cycle three or more times a week.

Cycling UK’s Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy said “Bike Week is the UK’s excuse for a party on a bike, and that’s why our theme this year is ‘Fun & Freedom’. Cycling UK wants to help millions more people to rediscover – or find out for the first time – just how much fun you can have cycling. So whether you’re out with friends, are planning a family get together, or like getting away from the daily grind, join the half a million people taking part in Bike Week from 10 – 18 June!”

To support those already cycling or new to riding a bike, Bike Week is also partnering with Halfords this year, so that Bike Week participants can get a free bike check, and 20% off the price of gold, silver and bronze servicing.

Local independent restaurant Milan Indian Cuisine, situated on Newhall Street City Centre, will be launching their ‘Good Earth Indian Vegetarian Food Festival’ this month. Beginning on the 19th June and finishing on the 1st July, Milan will be showcasing some exciting and exclusive vegetarian options, with all ingredients sourced from the abundant and nutritional produce of Mother Earth.

No country in the world is as strongly associated with vegetarianism as India, and the country is often referred to as the paradise for vegetarian food. Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps India’s most famous exponent of vegetarianism, arguing vigorously that vegetarianism was more conducive to a life led according to the precepts of ahimsa (respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others).

In celebration of the vegetarian diet, Milan Indian Cuisine have created an exclusive menu featuring specially selected, unique creations that are prepared by their expert chefs. The festival menu will include a range of aromatic delights.

Parvinder Multani, Head Chef at Milan Indian Cuisine, comments: “The vegetarian food festival is all about enjoying what the Earth has to offer. In today's world with lifestyles becoming sedentary what more can one ask to have a low calorie well balanced nutritious food with abundant variety.” Comment ends.

Milan Indian Cuisine was established in 1988 as one of the first Indian restaurants in the area and is well-known for their great range of authentic yet innovative Indian dishes for vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners alike.

The dedication of teams of committed volunteers in Wolverhampton has been recognised after seven organisations they represent received the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

It is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK, presented for outstanding achievement by people who regularly volunteer their own time to enhance and improve the lives of others.

Awards were given to Access to Business, Ashmore Park Community Association, Bilston Town Community Football Club, Hope Community Project, Interfaith Wolverhampton, Jai Jashn Dance and The Haven Wolverhampton.

Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Elias Mattu, whose theme for his Mayoral year is recognising the value of volunteering, said: “Charities and volunteers do tremendous work helping the most needy and vulnerable people in our City, and I am delighted that these seven groups have been recognised in this way.

“We have thousands of fantastic volunteers in Wolverhampton who give up their valuable time to support others, and it is wonderful that so many are now the proud recipients of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service."

Access to Business provides critical specialist support services for the unemployed, specialising in support for people with disabilities and health problems.

Ashmore Park Community Association offers a welcoming space where all ages come together for a wide range of activities and events which promote physical, social and mental well-being.

Bilston Town Community Football Club provides free or affordable educational coaching and access for young people to watch live sport.

Hope Community Project supports the most vulnerable and forgotten people of all ages living in the Heath Town area of Wolverhampton.

Interfaith Wolverhampton has, for more than 40 years, been dedicated to promoting dialogue, understanding and community cohesion between people of different faiths and cultures.

Jai Jashn Dance delivers Bollywood‐based community classes, exploring the dance heritage of India with members able to positively demonstrate and promote its diversity.

The Haven Wolverhampton works hard to support vulnerable women and children who are victims of domestic abuse and homelessness to regain their place in society.

Access to Business Chief Executive Josie Kelly said: "We are absolutely honoured and delighted to have received our Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

“For over 15 years we have been providing services for unemployed and disabled people in our City to improve their skills and confidence and support their route to employment.

“Volunteers play a vitally important role in supporting our work and include our volunteer Board of Directors and many local volunteers supporting and promoting our work helping others to improve their lives."

Ann Wood, Chair of Ashmore Park Community Association, said: “I am bursting with pride. This is a great honour and privilege for our charity and all our volunteers who work so hard to provide facilities and activities for others.

“They will be delighted to know that they are award winners – and not just any awards winners, they are now Queen’s Award Winners for Voluntary Service."

Many of the nominations were supported by the City of Wolverhampton Council which worked closely with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Lieutenancy Assessment Assessor Sylvia Parkin MBE, from Tettenhall. She said: "I am delighted that these seven worthy groups of volunteers have been recognised in this way.

“It is impossible to overestimate the impact their organisations have on the people of Wolverhampton, and the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service highlights their commitment to the city and its residents.”

To be nominated for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service an organisation must provide a service that meets a need for people living in the local community, be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it and be run locally.

After weeks of campaigning and back and forth spiel about their respective merits and problems, the political parties left the future of the country up to the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 8th June. After a tense, few hours the results came trickling through.

No one party won an outright majority, the Conservatives won 315 seats (at the time of writing) and Labour won 261 seats. With 326 seats needed for an outright majority, no one party could claim that right. Consequently, many have begun wondering what this now means, in this article, we shall highlight the possible outcomes of the hung Parliament.

Firstly, a coalition government seems the most likely outcome. The Conservatives are the largest party in Parliament with 315 seats, whilst the DUP have 10 seats, considering the previous working relationship these two parties have, a coalition between the two of them does seem likely. At present with four seats still to declare their results, it is possible that the Conservatives would gain enough seats there to be able to properly form a coalition government with the DUP, though of course there would need to be a lot of negotiation before a proper agreement is reached.

Given that Brexit negotiations are due to start in earnest within the next few weeks, any negotiations cannot take too long, as Britain will want to present a united front when it comes to the negotiation table.

Secondly, Theresa May could if all else fails form a minority government. This would mean that though she does not have an outright majority in the House of Commons, as the biggest party in the Commons, her party would be able to hold the position of government of the United Kingdom, but they would be reliant on other parties to make the passing of laws easier.

This last happened during the 1970s, under Labour and led to a lot of civil unrest, as Labour was held hostage by the Trade Unions and infighting. Consequently, it does not hold much appeal to anyone who has an inkling of history. Furthermore, as previously mentioned Brexit negotiations are fast approaching, and the government would wish for as strong a hand as possible when entering the negotiations.

A minority government would not give them that, due to a belief that they lack democratic legitimacy in some corners. And ensuring that any agreement reached has smooth sailing in the Commons would be much harder, with MPs more likely to stick to their own inkling than toe the party line.

To conclude, this election has produced a surprise result, especially when one considers that Theresa May was twenty points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn when she called the election in April. With her stumbling performance and countless U-Turns on policy, the gaps in her ability to lead have been exposed combined with Jeremy Corbyn’s growth in confidence, and the Hung Parliament begins to make more sense. We are in for a very interesting few weeks.

Yesterday, Britain went to the polls, to choose a new government. The parties have been campaigning since April, and they have offered a variety of different options on a whole host of issues. There has been the usual rhetoric, slogans thrown about, ‘strong and stable’ performances as well as ‘weak and wobbly’ performances. After nearly two months of campaigning it all came to an end yesterday, and with the increased number of people who have registered to vote, turnout was expected to be high.

However, to ensure that nobody skips out on doing their democratic duty, Scottish Beer company BrewDog offered voters a free pint if they vote. It’s a simple process really, if a voter took a picture of themselves outside their polling station and then enters one of BrewDog’s many bars across the country and shows staff their picture, then they will get a free pint.

During the day, The Phoenix Newspaper decided to take up this offer, and at the bar located opposite Turtle Bay in the city centre, found a packed pub. When a barman was asked about the offer he had this to say. “Yeah, we did something similar with the referendum, and not many people turned up. But since there’s been more people registering to vote this time around, and turning up, I think we’ll have a lot more customers. It’s a good thing you know, people are getting out there and having their voice heard.”

A group of young workers, just finished work arrived at the bar around five thirty, and when interviewed had this to say. “Yeah, we’d normally come here anyway, but the free pint really enticed us down. It’s a great initiative.” Many of them were hoping for a Labour victory, with one member hoping for a hung Parliament!

Certainly, there was no lack of excitement over the election or the offer. A smart initiative by BrewDog and one that is sure to bring more excitement and fun to an already intriguing election season.

An exciting new opportunity for schools and organisations will soon be available at the RSPCA’s Newbrook Farm Animal Centre.

The animal centre in Birmingham is expanding to include an education centre which aims to promote the importance of animal welfare to children and young people.

RSPCA Newbrook Farm Education Centre will launch in August with school visits, activity days, animal welfare programmes and outdoor learning.

It aims to support families, children and young people develop their compassionate skills, learn about nature and the five animal welfare needs.

Debbie Caffull, animal centre manager, said: “We are so excited to be launching the education arm of RSPCA’s Newbrook Farm Animal Centre this summer. Education is such a vital part in ensuring good animal welfare in the future. The centre hopes to inspire children to love and care for animals as much as we do, and teach them important life lessons along the way.”

Craig Osborne, animal hospital manager, also supports the education centre, he said: “Programmes that teach children and young people compassion towards animals can help them realise the potential they have in their own lives and the valuable contribution they can make to their community.”

Newbrook Farm has recently been awarded a Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and is now expanding on this with a dedicated education centre.

Charlie Chan, community engagement manager, who is developing the education centre, said: “All the programmes are completely free and can work alongside the national curriculum or an organisation’s own projects.

“As well as school visits, activity days and animal welfare programmes for schools, youth groups and families, there will also be opportunities for outdoor learning including fun trails to get back to nature.

“The activities are designed to be achievable and rewarding as well as having an element of discovery and learning. Education is key to ensuring that everyone is aware of the five animal welfare needs and how to meet them.”

The Newbrook Farm Education Centre is urging schools, local groups and organisations to get in touch now to find out how they can book into the education centre.

There is also a need for more volunteers to get involved with the Volunteer Speaker Scheme. This scheme sees volunteers delivering talks to school groups and assemblies about the work of the RSPCA and the five animal welfare needs. The role would suit anyone with some spare time who is comfortable speaking to groups, passionate about animal welfare and looking to help.

The education centre could also be a brilliant opportunity for a university student to use as a placement to support and enhance their studies, or for someone looking for work experience in this sector.

For more information and updates, find the Newbrook Animal Centre on Facebook, RSPCA Birmingham Animal Centre and Hospital, or follow us on Twitter @RSPCABirmingham.


Hundreds of toddlers will be dressing up and taking part in a mass march around Dudley Zoo in aid of charity next week.

The annual Barnardo’s Big Toddle is due to take place on the mornings of Tuesday and Wednesday, June 13 and 14.

This is the 20th year of the popular half-mile sponsored walk, which sees parents and children either organise their own event or attend one of the larger regional spectacles.

Dudley Zoo hosts the largest Toddle in the UK, and this year’s event has a ‘colour’ theme with children encouraged to dress up in their boldest and brightest outfits.

Admission is free to under-5s, with discounts for adults and older children. Registrations close this Friday June 9th.

Gates open at 10am, with the walk beginning at 11am.

Barnardo’s regional assistant director Emily Phelps said: “The Big Toddle is the UK’s biggest and best fundraising event for under-5s. It’s all about children helping children by taking part in short sponsored walks.

“Nurseries, playgroups, childminders and parents are welcome to organise their own events, but we also have a number of public Toddles - and the one at Dudley Zoo is one of the biggest in the UK.

“It’s a fantastic venue and we’re looking forward to seeing hundreds of happy faces across the two days.”

Children will be welcomed by a costumed mascot and entertainers, with free refreshments for each registered child.

Barnardo’s staff will also be available to talk about how they can help to give children the best possible start in life.

Dudley Zoo marketing manager Andrea Hales said: “We’re delighted once again to team up with Barnardo’s and support the incredible work they do in giving children the best start in life.

“The Big Toddle is always hugely popular. So make sure you sign up soon and have a really wild time helping to raise funds for a very worthy cause.”


Although Suffragette might have you believing only white women were entrenched in the cause for women’s suffrage in Britain, there were a number of Indian suffragettes and suffragists who took part. Most notably, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, daughter of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and goddaughter of Queen Victoria, helped lead marches and played up her perceived ‘exoticness’ in order to bring much-needed attention to the movement. For International Women’s Week, I will shed light on some of her contributions, as well as that of the other wealthy Indian women fighting for suffrage in the 1900s to 1910s.

Read the original full article here

Summer has arrived, and Niantic, Inc. and The Pokémon Company International will be unleashing a variety of in-game and real-world activities to celebrate Pokémon GO’s first anniversary. Downloaded more than 750 million times in its first year, Pokémon GO will be bringing Trainers together in new and unique ways this summer through a variety of in-game and live events including Pokémon GO Fest, the first live Pokémon GO event organised by Niantic.

“It’s been an incredible first year for Pokémon GO thanks to the passion and dedication from the global Trainer community,” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, Inc. “As part of the first anniversary, we’ll be giving players around the world the chance to enjoy fun in-game events, engage with friends and other Trainers at real-world events, and much more.”

Pokémon GO Fest is our first official dedicated real-world event for Pokémon GO and will be hosted in Chicago on July 22. Trainers from around the world will flock to Chicago’s Grant Park for a Pokémon GO celebration. The fun-filled day of Pokémon GO in the park will give Trainers the chance to meet fellow players and engage in a variety of activities. Tickets for Pokémon GO Fest will go on sale beginning June 19 at 10:00 A.M. PDT on

European Trainers can look forward to Pokémon GO celebrations hosted across the continent from June through September in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers. Trainers in the United States who are not able to make it to Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago can look for further event integration in several cities across North America as Niantic and the Knight Foundation continue their partnership on the Open Streets program.

The Pokémon Company is organizing “Pikachu Outbreak”, a Pokémon event in Yokohama, Japan, in August where they’re exploring a unique Pokémon GO experience.

Players around the world who are eager to get outside, explore and fill up their Pokédexes can look forward to the Solstice Event, Pokémon GO’s first in-game event of the summer, running from Tuesday, June 13 at 1:00 PM PDT until June 20 at 1:00 PM PDT. During this event, Trainers can expect increased encounter rates for their favorite Fire-type and Ice-type Pokémon, including Charmander, Cyndaquil, Houndour, Swinub, Sneasel, and their Evolutions, and others. Trainers will also be awarded increased XP for in-game actions like Curveballs, Nice Throws, Great Throws, Excellent Throws, and more. In addition, Lucky Eggs will be 50% off in the in-game shop, meaning even more XP can be gained when discovering and catching elusive Fire-type and Ice-type Pokémon.

Today is the day to cast your vote in the United Kingdom General Election. Regardless of what way you want to vote, make sure that you get out there and vote one way or another!

When Theresa May won the leadership election for the Conservative party following David Cameron’s resignation, and Brexit, she promised to bring ‘strong and stable’ leadership to the country. She promised to fight for the ‘just about managing’ families of Britain. She promised a great deal, and for the first few months it worked.

Compared to the stumbling and enemy prone Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May came across as calm, confident and experienced. She had served for six years as Home Secretary-a record since the end of the Second World War- and she had done her best to contribute to Britain’s recovery after the economic recession of 2008. Additionally, though she might not have been the most eager for Brexit, she soon threw herself into ensuring that Britain got the best deal possible from Europe. She ensured that her cabinet was filled with those who supported Brexit, as well as those who wanted to chart a middle ground.

Theresa May appeared to be working in the interests of the British people, and her twenty point lead over Jeremy Corbyn in April, 2017 seemed to reflect the view of the British people that she was indeed doing a good job. She then called a general election, and many predicted a landslide for the Conservatives in the face of a hopeless Labour party, riven by internal division, a non-existent Liberal Democrat party, and the decimation of UKIP. What has since transpired has been something few would’ve expected in April.

Theresa May prides herself on being forthright, having come from a humble background and supposedly espousing ‘traditional British values.’ She prides herself on her morals and being willing to fight for what she believes is right for Britain. Her catch phrase is meant to reflect that. Yet many are increasingly coming to believe that that is a lie, and that her underlying problems will be her undoing.

But what exactly are the problems that people such as Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon feel Theresa May is trying to hide from the British public, and why would they be such a big talking point of this election, if they were not important beforehand? Well, there are the obvious issues: police cuts, issues in the NHS, immigration and security, as well as the less well known issues, mainly that there is surprisingly little actual criticism of Theresa May present before she became Prime Minister.

Firstly, in light of the recent attacks in London and Manchester, cuts to the police service have become an ever more pressing issue. Before the general election, there were murmurs that the cuts being implemented by the Conservative government to the police force were alarming and would have severe consequences, but they were just murmurs nothing more. It is only after attacks in London and Manchester, and the revelations that those responsible for the attacks were known to the police, but that the police could do nothing about them, because of how many other things they had to do, that the issue of the cuts has becoming a serious issue.

In fact a quick look at the figures as stated by the government shows that from March 2010 to March, 2016, police numbers fell from 143,734 to 124,066 and during the same time period the number of armed officers fell from 6,653 to 5,639. Given the increased risk of terror in Europe, following the attacks in France, Germany and Belgium, this is an alarming statistic. As Home Secretary, Theresa May defended such cuts stating that the system needed reform, and that reducing the number of policemen would save costs. During the time of the recession and the recovery this was understandable, but now? Now it is seen as something that was an unnecessary risk to take. Jeremy Corbyn has vigorously criticised Theresa May for these cuts stating: “You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need not 20,000 police cuts.”

However, as is seemingly common with Theresa May, she has deflected this criticism, not with solid argument, but with what has increasingly appeared to be desperation. In a speech on Monday she said: “The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said that the Met is well-resourced, and they are, and that they have very powerful counterterrorism capabilities, and they do. We have protected counterterrorism policing budgets.”

This seems highly ironic given the cuts to policing and the obvious affect it is having, as Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, which represents the police said. “Nobody here will say: ‘If it wasn’t for this cut, that wouldn’t have happened. It would be folly to say so. But what we can say is that the figures speak for themselves and questions need to be asked.”

Theresa May’s record is not just shady on policing. On immigration, May promised to live up to a Conservative pledge in the 2010 and 2015 election campaigns to reduce immigration down to 100,000. In 2014, had increased from 244,000 to 330,000 an increase rather than a decrease. And in her attempt to change course or make up for this short fall, May has taken to some rather odd strategies. Firstly, she insists that international students be included in the immigration count, despite several of her colleagues and experts stating that this would be a grave mistake, and as such the numbers have not fallen, though British Universities have suffered. Secondly May used a series of vans in immigrant communities, which included slogans that not only encouraged immigrants to leave, but were highly racist, which did not unsurprisingly convince immigrants to leave, but rather fostered feelings of anger and resentment amongst these communities. Thirdly, May then targeted random groups of people such as two American Bloggers, who were allowed to tour North America and Europe freely, but were refused entry in Britain for unknown reasons. Theresa May has consistently, tried to project an image for a strong leader during the campaign, but as one can see here, her record is not strong, it is not perfect, it is weak and shady. This is further emphasised by the fact that there appeared to be little actual overt criticism of May as Home Secretary.

It appears that Theresa May and her close advisors would pressurise members of the press to either print something flattering about her, or to criticise junior ministers or civil servants in the Home Office-a clear breach of our supposed freedom of speech- and anything that slipped through their net and directly criticised May was either removed, or made unavailable within moments of being uploaded. This fits in with another trend that has been noticed, Theresa May seems to be a big fan of preventing overt criticism over her person. A big supporter of the 2014 Lobbying Act Theresa May, has often refused to answer questions or comments from charities such as the British Red Cross, over the state of the NHS and the level of homelessness within Britain. Indeed, after attacking the British Red Cross for their ‘crisis in the NHS’ comments earlier this year, it appears that May has stifled charities of all shapes and sizes from actually discussing the election, something which is being called a “grave threat to our democracy.”

Finally, on the campaign trail itself, there have been a few gaffes, most memorably the U turn over welfare payments and winter fuel payments for the elderly, which led to May stating that her U-turn was not in fact a U turn but a cleverly cast policy, which came in for a lot of ridicule. There have been her refusals to take part in debates with other party leaders, making her appear afraid and scared, there have been her weak answers and frigid appearances during television interviews, and a whole other litany of things that appear to contradict the Strong and Stable leadership image she has tried to convey.

To conclude, Theresa May can appear confident and sure of herself when she wishes to, she can talk about her record-which isn’t that impressive, other than being the longest serving home secretary since the end of the war- and she can deride Jeremy Corbyn. But, when one looks at it, her record is somewhat shocking, promises have consistently been made and broken, her approach to handling criticism smacks of a third world dictator, and her ability to handle pressure situations seems lacking. Theresa May is a woman of many faces, not many of them pleasant.



Jeremy Corbyn has often faced a difficult time of it from the press and from establishment figures. He is not seen as a conventional politician-having voted against the Labour leadership some 400 times during the Blair and Brown premierships- however, his unconventionality has attracted admirers from different walks of life in the UK, but especially amongst young people. This first became apparent in 2015, during the Labour leadership election, Corbyn was only nominated because certain members thought it only fair that the left wing of the party were represented. Nobody expected him to stand a chance, and yet he did. His anti-austerity, anti-war and anti-tax evasion stances drew a large following and made many former Labour supporters re-join the party out of a sense of relief that the party they had come to know and love was going back to its roots. When Corbyn won the leadership election, there are many who were surprised, but many who were not. He had a message that resonated with the people, and he was sincere.

This message of a fair and just society that works for the many and not just the few has constantly resonated with a variety of supporters, be they new voters or older slightly more cynical voters. Pledging to ensure proper funding for the NHS, to ensure that mental health services are truly catered to and that doctors and nurses actually get paid properly and do not need to worry about pay freezes, has struck a chord with a public tired of seeing the NHS suffer. Promises to build more houses to handle a housing crisis have also pleased his supporters, and even those who might otherwise have drifted toward the right, and promising to clamp down on tax evaders has also struck a chord with the populous.

With Theresa May’s support dropping in the polls, thanks to her U turns over welfare payments and elderly care, Jeremy Corbyn continues to thrive and prosper, sticking to his promises, and always backing them up with costings and solid evidence to show why he has reached the view he has. Furthermore, Jeremy Corbyn has something that many politicians in the present and in the past, do not have, he is a man of principle. He has never in his thirty-four-year career changed his stance on anything, without first considering every piece of information presented to him, and then making an informed decision.

In an age where increasingly it seems that political figures have the interests for a select few at heart, rather than the general populous, Jeremy Corbyn is a lone figure of hope. Standing firm and tall, standing true to his promises and hopes for Great Britain, he focuses not on the few who have it all, but on the many who dream big dreams. His policies and his words show he is indeed a man of the people.

By Vivek Rajkhowa

Leaders from coastal nations and small island developing states from the Commonwealth will surf a wave of optimism this week at a major United Nations summit which aims to deliver on a global promise to conserve and sustainably manage the seas.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland leads a delegation from the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is working with its member states – who represent a third of the world’s population and much of its ocean space – to champion a new sustainable approach to growth centred around the blue economy.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “This conference presents an historic opportunity to deal with the great magnitude of threats to the ocean including climate change, overexploitation and competition for resources. At stake is a new settlement for the seas which will deliver a positive and enduring legacy for generations to come.”

Between 5 and 9 June 2017, the high-level Ocean Conference brings together governments, international and financial institutions, civil society, academics, scientists and representatives from the private sector. The conference in New York aims to be “the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity”.

The government of Fiji, a Commonwealth member state, is co-chair of the conference alongside the government of Sweden. “We in the Commonwealth family are bursting with pride and offer our wholehearted support,” the Secretary-General said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister of Fiji J.V. Bainimarama will join the Commonwealth Secretary-General at a ‘A Blue Commonwealth’, a high-level roundtable hosted jointly by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the government of Seychelles, represented by Vice President Vincent Meriton.

The Commonwealth Secretariat helps coastal and small island member countries to claim national maritime territory, sustainably manage the marine environment and realise its economic potential. Forty-five of our 52 members are ocean states and 24 are small island developing states.

The roundtable on Tuesday will examine the role of the Commonwealth in supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14, in maximising innovation and economic opportunities in the development of blue economies. The side event will also look at ways to ensure fairness, equity and women’s empowerment and how to mobilise partnerships and support.

Prime Minister of Grenada Keith Mitchell will join Vice President Vincent Meriton and ministers from Bangladesh, Barbados, Cyprus and Tonga, plus speakers from UNCTAD and the Commonwealth Foundation for the roundtable. Speakers will discuss their experience of blue economy successes and hurdles and explore how individual country needs can be best aided.

During the roundtable, Secretary-General Scotland will discuss the proposed development of a ‘Blue Charter’, a set of guiding principles for sustainable, fair and equitable ocean economic development based on the Charter of the Commonwealth.

The Secretary-General will also participate in two panel discussions organised in partnership with UNCTAD on the trade in fisheries and innovative Pacific approaches to the oceans economy.

During the conference, initial findings will also be presented from A Sustainable Future for Small States: Pacific 2050, a forthcoming report from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Things are hotting up as the opening of BBC Gardeners’ World Live, at Birmingham’s NEC, gets ever nearer.

The Show is at the centre of the 50th anniversary of BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World so it’s going to be a Golden Jubilee summer garden party!

With wall-to-wall garden inspiration, top experts, unbeatable shopping and magic moments around every corner, a taster of what’s so special this year include; Stepping back in time at The Nostalgia Garden (Paul Stone, plants supplied by St Andrews Healthcare), a village scene set in the ‘60s complete with garden centre overflowing with the plants of the decade, and the prices to match! Stroll by a babbling brook, spot the vintage `1967 Mini Austin and Nuffield Tractor famously constructed in Birmingham and the plants named after Gardeners’ World presenters!

You can then journey through five decades of glorious gardening, from the crazy paving of the ‘70s to naturalistic planting of the ‘00s, at The Anniversary Garden: A Brief History of Modern Gardens (Prof David Stevens and Peter Dowle). The Beautiful Borders are also all themed around 50 years of Gardeners’ World.

Returning to their roots, Barnsdale Gardens and Birmingham City Council recreate their acclaimed exhibits from RHS Chelsea Flower Show, plant for plant, in the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Floral Marquee.

More floral tributes to the anniversary include a three-tier birthday cake made of Peonies (Primrose Hall Nursery) and a garden party scene of British cut flowers and table set for the Gardeners’ World presenters (Flowers from the Farm), plus the spectacular Jubilee Bedding Display (Allensmore Nurseries). From the most recent presenters of BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World to some of the most famous faces from the past, the nation’s best-loved gardeners take to the stage, including: Monty Don, Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Adam Frost, Nick Bailey, Flo Headlam and Frances Tophill from the current line-up. Plus Alan Titchmarsh, Toby Buckland and Peter Seabrook from series of old.

Marking this extra special year, the BBC team will film the Show highlights for a one-hour anniversary programme.

As part of this, the winning Golden Jubilee Plant will be unveiled to much delight, with visitors able to explore a fantastic display of all 10 Golden Jubilee Plant varieties in the Changing Face of Gardening feature, which also includes a look back at the revolution in Grow Your Own, the emergence of container gardening and the changing attitudes towards wildlife since the ‘60s.

Topping off the anniversary antics the Show will be packed with entertainment including live music, vintage tea tent, Spiced Beetroot birthday cake created exclusively by TV presenter and BBC's ‘The Great British Bake Off’ winner, Nadiya Hussain, Michelin masters Tom Kerridge and Michel Roux Jr taking to the stage, queen of baking Mary Berry back by popular demand, firm Show favourite James Martin, the fantastic Two Greedy Italians, Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo,  plus family fun including face painting, making bird feeders, creating Father’s Day cards and craft sessions, picnics, street food, Pimm’s and fizz!

BBC Gardeners’ World Live takes place June 15-18.


The Kings Heath Street Food Market returns to Kings Heath Village Square on Saturday June 10, in collaboration with award winning circus school CircusMASH.

This month sees the third 2017 event, which returned in April this year, and offers another great selection of street food traders, music, seating and quirky outdoor bar.

The food line-up includes... returning trader Libertine Burger, juicy burgers made with grass fed beef... Bare Bones Pizza, a Midlands based pizza favourite whose menu options include vegan and gluten free options... and Uncle Samwich, a brand new trader offering dishes inspired by cities across America. Additional food traders are being announced daily.

Since arriving in Birmingham five years ago, CircusMASH has become hugely popular with adults and children alike. Their latest show, Manöken, is described as “exploring identity in the unidentifiable” and welcomes you to “place yourself in displacement and lose your senses.” CircusMASH will perform five separate shows during this event.

Kings Heath Street Food Market, sponsored by Birmingham Brewing Company, is open from 11am to 5pm and CircusMASH take to the square from 1pm. There will also be a handful of children’s rides and activities available on the day.

In short, yes!

Michael Cook, Romans Lettings Director explains: “It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that a carbon monoxide detector is fitted in any room within their rental accommodation which contains an appliance which burns solid fuel. Whilst gas and oil boilers do not fall within this category, it is still best practice to install alarms.”

Landlords who fail to comply with these regulations could face a fine of up to £5,000. As part of our landlord services, Romans Lettings Agents ensure we are fully up-to-date on all changes to legislation and will advise landlords on the laws with which they must comply.

It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure alarms are fitted on the first day of the tenancy, thereafter it becomes the responsibility of the tenants to regularly check they are in full working order. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to replace the alarms every 5-7 years in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Michael continues: “ARLA now suggests that there are over 160 pieces of legislation landlords have to comply with. Many find this to be overwhelming and seek the support of a professional agent to help keep meticulous records and to stay up-to-date with ever-changing legislation.”

It is important that landlords maintain a legal record of the carbon monoxide checks on the day the tenancy begins showing that the alarms are in full working order. Keeping this record can help protect landlords against any unfounded claims and help them to avoid a costly fine. Romans’ landlords benefit from our detailed inventory and check-in services and through our online landlord accounts can access all of their important documents and records at the click of a button.