Rail passengers on track to discover city’s musical roots

Rail passengers will find themselves on a route to the roots of Birmingham’s world-class musical heritage thanks to a new community project. Musical Routes will see 30 themed maps installed at railway stations across the city, telling the story of the musical heritage of each area. They will celebrate world-class artists Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, The Beat, Joan Armatrading, Andy Hamilton and Jamelia along with many more, and profile iconic venues such as the Que Club and Rum Runner. The project is the brainchild of Birmingham Music Archive and the rail-travelling public will benefit thanks to funding from West …

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Drive to tackle community isolation after lockdown

People left isolated or lonely during the Covid pandemic are being offered a lifeline as a project to bring them together expands. SNJ Charitable Trust, based in Wolverhampton, has increased its Chat and Chai Bringing People Together sessions, with one now taking place every day. Bringing People Together (BTP) is a network designed to connect people and was set up by the organisation Transforming Communities Together (TCT). TCT, which covers Staffordshire, the Black Country and north Shropshire, set up BPT after the success of its Places of Welcome initiative, where members of the community are invited to get together at …

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Training plan to bridge the ‘digital divide’

People in Bilston will be offered free training in how to use technology as part of a new drive to ‘bridge the digital divide’. The SNJ Charitable Trust, based in Wolverhampton, found that the Covid pandemic had had a huge impact on some communities in the area. And many had a fear of computers and digital technology, leaving them isolated and unable to access vital services. SNJ founder Neena Julka said: “We identified a big need and found people could not use digital technology to connect to each other or use the internet to access essential health or care services. …

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How I launched the story of the Skipping Sikh

When 74-year-old Rajinder Singh released a video of himself skipping during lockdown, his daughter Minreet Kaur, a newly-qualified journalist, knew he had a story that people needed to hear. She dubbed him Skipping Sikh and battled to get his story out there. Despite an initial rejection, her perseverance saw Rajinder’s inspirational tale take on a life of its own. He went on to raise thousands of pounds for the NHS and inspired many to dust off their skipping ropes and get fit during those first weeks of the pandemic. Rajinder is now planning to mark his 75th birthday by taking …

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Julie Naismith

Most dog owners would pull a sickie to care for their pet, new research highlights

The vast majority of dog owners would consider pulling a sickie to care for their pets as they prepare to return to work post-lockdown, new research has shown. Almost three quarters are worried about how returning to work will affect their pet, the survey revealed. The poll by leading UK separation anxiety expert and author Julie Naismith is a snapshot of how dog owners are feeling ahead of an anticipated widespread end to working from home as UK bosses plan to boost post-pandemic productivity. The survey revealed more than 85 per cent of the 900 people surveyed would consider taking …

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Victoria Hanson of Hampers for Heroes

How my lockdown venture changed my life

Victoria Hanson, a working mum-of-four, set up Hampers for Heroes during the first lockdown when her work diary emptied. She wanted to show her appreciation to the key workers who were doing so much to keep us safe and began delivering wellbeing hampers to say thanks. Here she talks about how Hampers for Heroes has grown to become a community interest company with an army of volunteers, reaching tens of thousands of key workers. She also tells how she has had to adapt to becoming the public face of the organisation, raising awareness through local, national and international media. Even …

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Caring Staffordshire start-up supports children in women’s refuge with Buddy Bag pack

Staff at a community-focused Burton business filled 180 backpacks of essential items and teddies for children escaping violent homes.  The first Buddy Bag pack at Payaro gave its team a hands-on insight into the charity they have pledged to support with £10,000 a year.  Payaro directors Danny and Lee Dunne then delivered some of the bags to a local women’s refuge.   They were joined by Karen Williams OBE, founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation, which funds the supplies to children entering emergency accommodation entirely through donations.  Payaro is a new start-up where every time a payment is made through its payment technology, a share …

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Three quick tips for pre-recorded TV news interviews

Three quick tips for pre-recorded TV news interviews

Three quick tips for pre-recorded TV news interviews Face to face TV interviews for news or magazine programmes are still happening, now with social distancing measures in place and strict adherence to current guidelines on avoiding the spread of Covid-19. Or they may be conducted over a video conferencing platform like Zoom. This week we’ve been working with clients to arrange TV interviews for: BBC ITV Channel 4 Local TV West Midlands There’s lots of advice about how to prepare for interviews and how to conduct them available online. Here are three quick practical tips we’ve been sharing with clients …

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