Urgent call to end ‘injustice’ of energy price cap loophole for hundreds of thousands of UK consumers

Hundreds of thousands of UK residents could face soaring energy bills due to a loophole that means they are not protected by a price cap. A national energy consultancy has now launched a campaign to close the loophole, which it says could affect up to around half a million customers. People living in apartment blocks where the owner has chosen a communal heating system are not covered by the price cap. This is because the energy supply is classified by suppliers as ‘commercial’ rather than ‘domestic’. While wholesale prices continue to climb steeply, the UK’s price cap on energy bills …

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Vic Lee with his Corona Diaries

Renowned artist’s £2,500 Christmas gift for FareShare

An artist who donated £5,000 to food charity FareShare after publishing two acclaimed graphic diaries chronicling the Covid pandemic, has handed over an early Christmas gift of another £2,500. Inspired by Marcus Rashford, Vic Lee has pledged to give £10,000 in total to the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste,  from sales of his books – the Corona Diaries. His latest donation was made on top of £5,000 he donated last year, raised through sales of his books, which were compared to the work of Samuel Pepys. “This is my own money, not money raised but my way …

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Daring new scheme offers ex-gang members a new start

Former gang members are being given a helping hand to turn their lives around thanks to a groundbreaking new scheme being run in the West Midlands. The young people are being paired up with business people who will mentor them and offer them advice on following a new path and leaving a life of crime behind. REAL Leaders, a community interest company based in Birmingham, in partnership with Leaders in Business, is running the scheme, called The Blue Project. It is looking for new mentors to sign up and learn leadership skills in a complex and challenging situation at the …

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Campaign to save Christmas for struggling families

When she heard that a parent had decided not to tell her children it was Christmas day because she couldn’t afford presents, the headteacher of a Wolverhampton nursery school knew she had to do something to help. Natalie Showell launched the Christmas in a Box scheme, providing boxes of food treats and gifts, and this year she hopes to help 100 families who might otherwise struggle. Natalie, aged 36, is the head teacher at Low Hill Nursery, in Jenks Avenue. She and her staff had been helping families in the Low Hill area on a small scale for many years, …

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Christmas ad removed after dog safety issues raised by expert

A dog behaviour expert who raised concerns over a Christmas advert showing a young child hugging a husky has praised the company for removing it. Dog behaviourist Debby Lucken, who runs Kids Around Dogs, was concerned over the message being sent out by the ad for VistaPrint, which showed a young girl approaching a large husky and putting her arms around it. Debby said: “The dog is clearly not happy in the clip. The little girl goes toward the dog and faces the dog, but this can be seen as confrontational. The dog has his mouth closed, his eyes are …

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Rail, Trail, Ale scheme relaunched to bring people into village

A rail and ramble project launched this year aimed at bringing people into a Shropshire village is to be extended next year. The Albrighton project is being relaunched under the heading ‘Rail, Trail, Ale’, and promises to be bigger and better. Albrighton parish councillor and organiser Peter Illes said: “We want people to come to Albrighton by train, they can have a lovely picturesque train ride, following by an easy guided ramble through the beautiful Shropshire countryside and then enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at one of the pubs, restaurants or coffee shops that are all within a short walk …

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Brum Ting is a sure thing for enterprising teens

Four enterprising Birmingham teenagers have launched their own business selling a range of tourist merchandise promoting their beloved home city. Charisma Meehan, Decrae Simms, Alex Yang and Ethan Widgery-Powell all met at the free@last youth club, which was set up to help young people in the inner-city Nechells area. Aged just 15, 16 and 17, they created Brum Ting as a way of making some money and learning about business. It is already proving a success and they have big plans for the future with their sights set on turning the brand into a global franchise. John Street, founder and …

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Business’s big ‘thank you’ to suppliers for support over lockdown

A business launched in lockdown has said a special thank you to all the suppliers that helped it thrive during such a difficult period. Bosses at Elevate FM threw a big party for around 35 suppliers and their guests to thank them for their support and service. Dave Warren, director of the Birmingham-based facilities management company, said: “We invited all the people that have helped us over the past 12 months. We wanted them to feel appreciated and part of the team. “It’s easy for people to thank their customers, but people forget about the people who have helped you …

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Chelsea Pensioners living in comfort thanks to Storm’s expert glazing

Hundreds of military veterans at the iconic Royal Hospital Chelsea are now living in more comfortable conditions, thanks to a team of Midlands-based glazing experts. The experts at Storm Windows, based in Halesowen, were called in by architects who had the task of improving the accommodation block, without damaging the appearance or heritage of the Grade I and II listed building, that dates back to 1682. As part of the refurbishment, they had to find ways of making the windows draught-proof and noise-proof, without changing their appearance. Storm’s technical director Mitchell Reece, said: “It was a big challenge, but one …

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Businesses challenged to help children in crisis this Christmas

Businesses are being urged to get involved with an initiative to help children who face spending Christmas in emergency accommodation after fleeing domestic violence. The Buddy Bag Foundation is looking for teams to take part in the Challenge Box scheme, to help provide essentials and home comforts to children who often have to flee leaving everything behind. Firms who want to take part should find 30 team members who will be given a shopping bag and list of items to buy. This can include pens and pencils, books, pyjamas, toothbrushes and other items. A team-building exercise can then be arranged …

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