Colors: Blue Color

Time is running out for talented older people in the West Midlands to share their skills at the Royal Voluntary Service’s GrandFest event, with the deadline of Friday 10 March fast approaching for accomplished craftspeople to apply to be a ‘GrandMaker’. As part of its 40th year celebrations, the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, has joined forces with the Royal Voluntary Service to support the charity’s annual GrandFest event; and both parties have issued a final call for potential GrandMakers to apply to be part of the one-day festival, which will take place in central London on Sunday 18th June.

Sandwell’s ever-popular Big Spring Clean campaign is back for 2017 – and local people and organisations are invited to get involved with litter picking, graffiti removal, planting and painting. The campaign will launch with a community litter-picking event at Victoria Park, Smethwick, on Friday 3 March. Sandwell Council has teamed up again with waste partner Serco and local charity Litter Watch to recruit volunteers for the 11th annual Sandwell Big Spring Clean.

In aiming to provide a facility where local people can get together to socialise, support and contribute to the building of a safer community, the Sheldon Community Initiative is looking to run a range of  weekly and monthly activities for local children, young people, the elderly, single parents and others groups. And in order to aid much-needed fundraising for the centre - which houses a local food bank as well as other annual events - they have set up a special Sheldon Outreach Family Centre Open Day/Launch at their Sheldon Heath Road venue in Birmingham.

To mark the 20th anniversary of World Book Day on 2nd March 2017 new research from VisitEngland shows that more than half of British holidaymakers would visit a literary attraction on holiday in England. Findings also show that one in four Brits visited a literary location in England during a holiday break in the last year. The same amount had read literature relating to a place they had visited in the country. 

Two years on, the Midland Langar Seva Society, which is supported by HomeServe’s van and volunteers, has delivered more than 17,000 hot meals and 17,000 goodie bags to those in need of help. An inspirational charitable partnership which is helping to feed, clothe and support homeless and vulnerable people in towns and cities across the West Midlands is going from strength to strength two years on.

Celebrate Mums all weekend at Blenheim Palace from Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 March. On Saturday treat mums to a special brunch with bottomless Mimosas; and on Sunday enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea in the Orangery Restaurant. The elegant Orangery Restaurant overlooks the 12th Duke of Marlborough's private Italian Gardens.

The clean-up at Black Patch Park in Smethwick has begun after a group of travellers were evicted earlier this week. Tonnes of rubbish including more than 300 tyres, rubble, black bags, furniture, beds and double glazed windows were left behind after the group were evicted by bailiffs. Sandwell Council bosses say the bill will run into thousands of pounds – with rubbish costing £110 a tonne to dispose of, plus the cost of cleaning the area, equipment and staff.

Of the many recent Queens Honours List, one of those who fully deserved her calling, and equally a mention, was the British Empire Medal which was so deservedly awarded to football coach, Annie Zaidi. Coventry-based Annie, a coach at Premier League champions, Leicester City and FA ‘Women in Football’ ambassador, was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for her services in football coaching. 

One in ten parents in the Midlands say short-term rentals, which result in frequent and stressful house moves, have stopped their children feeling settled. The new research published today by Shelter reveals the worrying impact the country’s broken rental market is having on families. In the past decade, the number of renting families has more than doubled but the law has failed to keep up. Renters only have a secure home for six months after which their landlord can ask them to leave with just two months’ notice and without a reason.

House of Fraser’s much-loved, festive winter wonderland raised an incredible £8,100 to support the pioneering work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. The Christmas grotto, which was located on the fifth floor of the department store, was open from the end of November until Christmas Eve and donated £1.20 from every ticket purchased to the charity’s £3.65 million Star Appeal, to help construct the UK’s first paediatric Rare Diseases Centre.

TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal got up to 'nose' good in a Sainsbury's store in Nine Elms when he pranked shoppers with an animatronic talking Red Nose, for the launch of this year's official Red Nose Day merchandise. Sainsbury's worked with a specialist animatronic company to create the larger-than-life Red Nose character, complete with hidden microphone, moving eyes and mouth. Placed out of sight, Rylan was able to use a remote control to make the Nose come to life, surprising shoppers and colleagues with jokes, banter and even some singing.

Free, cancer advice and support is coming to West Midlands between Tuesday 21 February to Friday 24 February. Macmillan Cancer Support’s mobile service will be visiting the area, with cancer information specialists on hand to answer questions and provide information. The team encourages anyone with worries relating to cancer to stop by, whether you’re living with cancer, or care for someone who is.

A petition calling for the price of University courses to be reduced back to their original £3,000 a year levels from their current £9,000+ a year point has gathered momentum since its creation. The petition on the UK Parliament website states "University fees is too high and the stress of being in dept is what puts individuals off applying for degrees.Now that grants have been removed it makes it difficult for family's who need financial support but can't get that anymore."

Data from the Sexual Relations and Activities Questionnaire within the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing has been collated to examine difficulties with sexual activities and function, attitudes towards sex and details about the current sexual partners of over 50s. The analysis, published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, gathered information from over 7000 over 50s which found that whilst self-reported difficulties in becoming aroused steadily increase in women aged 50-79, these then decrease after 80 to below the levels seen in 60-69 year olds.

The nation is coming together for the Great British Spring Clean in March, and you can get involved in Haringey. You can set up your own clean-up event in the borough, or check online to see what is already being planned. The Great British Spring Clean, backed by TV wildlife presenter Steve Backshall, will be held on the weekend of March 3-5. Organiser Keep Britain Tidy is urging individuals, clubs, schools and businesses to get involved and be Litter Heroes.