• Fraser Urquhart Media

Running, Rockets, Kitchen Discos And Mini Pac Man - FU Loves Birmingham #13

Well, that was a weekend of Cummings and goings… There is nothing like a bit of good old-fashioned political hypocrisy to liven up a Bank Holiday weekend is there! Twitter went wild and even Facebook held back on the videos of dogs waiting patiently to eat treats to wade on the should he, shouldn’t he debate.



Never has a trip to County Durham been so contentious! No matter which side of the social distancing barrier you sit on, one thing that I noticed is that people seemed more open to hearing the arguments of others without taking offence that their own opinions weren’t shared. It was a nice change to the usual echo chamber that social media can usually create. Perhaps lockdown has taught up a bit of tolerance and common sense?

Although it does not seem to have taught news crews and photographers anything about social distancing – have a word!

Anyway, take your mind off it all and enjoy this week's newsletter full of news about what's happening and what's happened in and around your front door. Stay Sensible, Stay Kind, Stay away from County Durham (wink)

Jon, Kevin & the #FUFighters.x

Obligatory Bad Joke


There are so many bad Corona Virus jokes out there; it’s a Pundemic. 


IT’ S PARTY TIME AS TAG NETWORK CELEBRATES ITS 6TH BIRTHDAY

TAG Network Midlands is proudly celebrating its 6th Birthday Party this Friday and our very own DLUXE Magazine is the official Media Partner, together supporting Birmingham charity, LoveBrum.


LoveBrum’s Executive Director, Paul Mitchell states; “LoveBrum is a charity that engages with local people and businesses to build an even-better Birmingham. At this time of exceptional circumstances, community spirit, and looking out for each other is even more important than ever. We really value the support of TAG Network Midlands in helping to secure a future for LoveBrum and the wider Birmingham community and congratulate them on their 6th year supporting the business community of our amazing City.”


In commemorating TAG Network Midlands’ milestone, they will be hosting an exciting evening of activities, special guests, and surprises which includes:


* Cook-Along Party Edition with Chef Nitisha Patel , * Entertainment Lounge in association with Aston Performing Arts Academy , * Wine Tasting Masterclass in association with The Wine Events Company & guest host Tony Elvin , * Music Quiz in partnership with Elegant Entertainment , * Backstage Networking Suite , * DJ Set with special guest Tim Andrews

ACCESS ALL AREAS PASS for £15 ticket (per team/per device) or Music Quiz & DJ Set PASS for £10 (per team/per device). Book your place NOW as limited spaces available – and did we mention it’s this coming Friday – at www.tagnetworkmidlands.com/events


OVAL REAL ESTATE LAUNCHES DIGBETH DIGS DEEP

Oval Real Estate, and its team behind the Digbeth Estate, has announced the launch of a new initiative, Digbeth Digs Deep. The charitable project has been created to support the NHS with free meals and care packages, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Oval Real Estate has partnered with ‘Feed the Frontline’ (www.feedthefrontline.uk) to support hospitals in London, Birmingham, Leeds, and hopefully beyond.


Digbeth Digs Deep aims to provide 400 meals a day, 3 days a week. The teams at the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios, and local eatery Kanteen, have come forward to volunteer their time to cook, package and deliver as many hot meals as possible to the Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands hospitals in Birmingham. Ex Master Chef finalist Leo Kattou of Simpsons and Great British Menu contestant Kray Treadwell, who is about to open his first restaurant, 670 Grams, in Digbeth, have also lent theisupport to the cause. Digbeth Digs Deep are looking for volunteers and donations, to get involved visit their CrowdFunding page   www.crowdfunder.co.uk/digbeth-digs-deep

You can follow the progress of Digbeth Digs Deep via @InDigbeth @Ovalrealestate and @custardfactory

HONEY I SHRUNK THE PAC MAN…

Of all the drunken late-night, online purchases during lockdown this limited-edition quarter sized PAC-MAN arcade machine might just be the daddy!


Created to celebrate the cheeky chap’s 40th birthday, PAC MAN is undoubtedly one of the most iconic video games of all time, arriving and revolutionising the gaming scene in 1980.  The limited- edition PAC-MAN 40th Anniversary Quarter Arcades cabinet is the ultimate man-cave accessory and you can even get one signed by the original PAC-MAN creator, Toru Iwatani.


256 signed and 256 standard Quarter Arcades are being produced, (256 represents the number of levels in the game) priced at £299 for signed and £129 for standard editions. The Quarter Arcades offers a ¼ scale replica of the original arcade cabinet and is fully playable. It stays true to the original arcade cabinet, with everything from its artwork, button/joystick sizes, and coin-mechanism shrunk down proportionately. Get yours at http://www.numskull.com/pac-man/ Just take our money.

200 DEGREES REOPENS ON COLMORE ROW FOR TAKEAWAYS


Coffee lovers can pick up freshly roasted coffee, other hot and cold drinks, and cakes to go at 200 Degrees Coffee’s Colmore Row shop in Birmingham city centre, following its reopening on Monday.


Opening seven days a week for takeaway service only, 200 Degrees will be serving its signature freshly roasted coffee, as well as its full range of hot and cold drinks, and a selection of pre-wrapped cakes and sweet treats, ideal for those who are working in the city centre, commuting from the nearby Snow Hill and New Street stations, and for passers-by enjoying their daily exercise.


To fall in line with social distancing regulations, a limited number of customers will be allowed into the shop at any one time and floor markings will be in place to help customers move around the shop safely. In addition, there will only be two members of staff working behind the counters which have new Perspex screens in place, and payments will be cashless only, either via card or the digital 200 Degrees app.


The Colmore Row shop is open for takeaway service Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm


LEARN A POST LOCKDOWN SKILL AND SUPPORT REFUGEES AT THE SAME TIME

Birmingham’s Bike Project is helping people to get set up on two wheels and stay on the road safely whilst supporting refugees and asylum seekers living in Birmingham at the same time. The start of lockdown saw more people buying bikes than ever before. With the extra £2 billion cycle and walking package, and a national cycling plan to be unveiled next month, this trend is set to continue. But only a fraction of us know how to properly fix our bikes. To support refugees and asylum seekers and to help the rest of us with our post lockdown skills, The Bike Project is offering virtual one on one Dr Bike sessions with pro mechanics and sells perfectly refurbished second-hand bikes.


During the online session, people will receive help from an expert and learn new essential skills. The cost of each session and the sale of every bike goes straight back to helping refugees and asylum seekers who desperately need two wheels.


Visit The Bike Project to sign up for a Virtual Dr Bike Session, donate towards the Emergency Appeal or give your old bike a new life at www.thebikeproject.co.uk

CO-OP LAUNCHES NEWS CALL AND COLLECT SERVICE

Central England Co-op has announced the launch of a new call and collect service for its Members to provide help for those who need support with their shopping. The Society, which has over 240 food stores across 16 counties, has created the new service as part of its ongoing efforts to provide access to food and vital essentials to people across the communities it trades in during these uncertain times.


The service will see Members call a dedicated number and place their order, their local store will then pick and pack the order that day before having it ready to be collected in the afternoon the day after. The Member, or a nominated person, will then visit the store and collect the shopping. Payment for the food and essentials will be taken over the phone via the retailer’s head office.


Full details of the service can be found here



WIN!  A £5000 PUBLICITY PACKAGE WITH FU MEDIA & DLUXE MAGAZINE


Publicity specialists, FU Media, and luxury magazine, DLUXE, have joined forces to offer an exclusive competition to win a year-long publicity package – worth over £5000.


To be in with a chance of winning, simply CLICK HERE.

T&Cs apply.  Competition closes 31st May 2020

FOLLOW THE LIVE LAUNCH OF A ROCKET INTO SPACE THIS WEDNESDAY

Join Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy, tonight for commentary and answers to your questions during the LIVE launch of the Crewed Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


The live launch with commentary from Anu will be hosted on the National Space Centre’s Facebook page from 21:15 – 21:45. The mission will see NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken take part in the first crewed launch from American soil in nine years as they blast off towards the International Space Station.

EXPLORE NATURE WITH THE BIG BRUM BIOBLITZ


Birmingham Museums is launching a new nature challenge to encourage families, young people, and adults to become environmental explorers with the Big Brum BioBlitz.


Over the coming months Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, part of Birmingham Museums Trust, is encouraging local people to find and identify as many species of plants and animals as they can see in a short period of time, giving a snapshot of the natural environment. There are four easy steps to follow – observe, record, identify and share.


Find out more at www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/blog/posts/the-big-brum-bioblitz.


HEART OF ENGLAND EXTENDS A HAND TO MENTAL HEALTH CHARITIES ACROSS THE REGION 

Designed to de-stigmatise the topic of mental health and encourage people to find the support they need, there has never been a more pressing time to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Week: with reports showing that charities across the UK will see £4bn lost in donations during the pandemic, Heart of England Community Foundation has been rallying to ensure that the service providers across the West Midlands are still able to support those who need it most. With a reported increase in people feeling anxious due to the ongoing pandemic, more and more people are turning to local services to get the help they need.


So far, Heart of England Community Foundation has funded over 265 projects across the West Midlands and Warwickshire, all of which are fundamental to communities. Awarding over £780k, the Foundation has awarded funding to the likes of mental health charities Hope into Action, You Can Flourish, Ordinary Magic C.I.C, Nightlife Outreach and TastlifeUK.  Covering the breadth of the region, each one offers mentoring and support to those who find themselves struggling.


If you wish to spread kindness in the way of a donation to the Coronavirus Resilience Fund, please visit: http://virginmoneygiving.com/fund/crf.


For more information about the funding and how to apply, please visit: https://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/coronavirus-resilience-fund/


JOIN SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR FOR HER LAST LOCKDOWN KITCHEN DISCO

Sophie and her lovely family have been a constant mood lifter during lockdown streaming a free live concert from her kitchen involving all the children, cats and craziness of family life along with some amazing tunes to get you ready for the weekend. Calling themselves the Family Von Trapped, their live Instagram posts have lifted spirits and acted as a hugely positive touchstone throughout all of this – someone make this woman a Dame!


You can watch the last kitchen disco this Friday on Instagram at 6.30pm. – link here Watch last week’s above!


MINISTRY OF SOUND CLASSICAL RELEASES VIDEO FOR ‘YOU’RE NOT ALONE’ FEAT. ALEXANDRA BURKE LONDON CONCERT ORCHESTRA & THE NHS CHOIR

We might have got something in our eye watching this one: Ministry of Sound Classical have released a special video in collaboration with Alexandra Burke, the London Concert Orchestra and NHS Choir to give thanks to the incredible work of the key workers.  Their cover of Olive’s 1997 classic ‘You’re Not Alone’, with its poignant, hopeful lyrics and combined with a purely symphonic arrangement, encapsulates what is currently a testing time for us all.


STILL GOT THE BAKING BUG? THEN WHY NOT PACK IN SOME PROTEIN


Breakfast brand Lizi’s, has created the perfect recipe for some protein packed power bars using typical store cupboard ingredients and items that people almost always have kicking about in the fridge.


They’ve also pulled together some gorgeous traybake and flapjack recipes -It is amazing, the goodies you can make with basic ingredients.


Get the recipes here.


LAURA ASHLEY SPILLS THE TEA ON ITS SUMMER REFRESHER

Laura Ashley The Tea Room has shared their recipe on how to brew your own refreshing Earl Grey and lime and mint iced tea at home – perfect for these long hot days!


Earl Grey & Lime Iced Tea

Ingredients 200ml Earl Grey tea 1.5tbsp Lime cordial Ice cubes Sliced lime for garnishing

Method

Brew one large pot of Earl Grey tea in freshly boiled water for three minutes, add lime cordial to the hot tea and stir, then leave to cool. Mix the cool tea with ice cubes into a serving jug and add slices of lime to finish.

Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients 100ml Peppermint tea 50ml Sugar syrup 50ml Apple juice 1 tbsp Lime juice, Mint leaves,Ice cubes

Method

Brew a pot of peppermint tea in freshly boiled water for three minutes, then leave the tea to cool. Stir in the sugar syrup, apple juice and lime juice, Mix the cool tea with ice cubes into a serving jug. Add the mint and stir.

COLD WAR STEVE TAKES ON THE PRE-RAPHAELITES FOR LATEST BIRMINGHAM COLLAGES

Satirical collage artist Cold War Steve, Christopher Spencer, is revealing two new collages online which feature characters from notable Pre-Raphaelite works in Birmingham’s Museum Collection.


The two new collages – Cold War Steve vs The PRB, hosted online at www.thesocial.com/cold-war-steve-vs-the-prb/ – see Cold War Steve using his humorous style to place characters from the work of Pre-Raphaelite artists, such as Henry Wallis and John Everett Millais, into unlikely scenes, with the aim of bringing them to new audiences.


The first sees the actor Steve McFadden, who regularly appears in Cold War Steve’s satirical scenes, on the top deck of a Birmingham bus surrounded by Pre-Raphaelite figures. The second piece uses John Byam Liston Shaw’s Boer War (1990-1901), Last Summer Things Were Greener as the backdrop to a surreal scene which includes Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Dominic Cummings.


The three Cold War Steve works were due to be revealed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), but due to the temporary closure of the gallery, they have launched online first. All three collages will go on display when BMAG is able to re-open.


You can pre-order a poster of Benny’s Babbies here for £15. Sales go towards supporting Birmingham Museums, and the valuable work the team does with local communities, while the doors to the nine museum sites are temporarily closed.


MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL TEAM TAKE ON 10K CHARITY CHALLENGE

Birmingham-based Mondelēz International’s employees have joined forces to raise money for two charities, by cycling, running and walking an incredible 10,000 miles throughout April.


The virtual challenge was devised after the team’s annual charity cycle ride was postponed due to the impact of COVID-19, with the group working towards its 2020 target of raising £10,000 for charity. Each person was able to complete their miles however they could, while adhering to government guidance on social distancing.


Throughout the month, 42 employees clocked up an impressive 11,903 miles, beating their target for the challenge and initially raising £1,340. The Cadbury Foundation stepped in to match the total raised and Mondelēz International’s employees also chose to donate to each charity through the company’s BOOST employee wellbeing initiative – bringing the total to an incredible £3,340.


For the challenge, the team raised money for both Acorns Children’s Hospice and Grocery Aid. The hospice provides vital care for life limited and life threatened children and support for their families.

HOSPICE HUMBLED BY PPE DONATIONS SINCE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

KEMP Hospice’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been boosted thanks to generous donations from the community. Due to the coronavirus outbreak the day hospice in Kidderminster is temporarily closed meaning staff are not dealing with patients face-to-face.


But once the restrictions are lifted, PPE will be vital to KEMP as it aims to provide care in the safest possible way. Karen Coles, Care Services Manager at KEMP, has thanked those that have either donated PPE or raised money for the Wyre Forest charity from the sale of face masks; “We are humbled, as ever, by the support of our community.”


She continues; “As we return to providing our care service at the hospice, the use of PPE for both staff, volunteers and patients will be extraordinarily important. They will help ensure we are keeping everyone as safe as possible and having these PPE items donated means we can utilise more your funds toward the care we provide – which is brilliant.’


KEMP’s doors are closed but its services are not. Please contact the hospice on 01562 756000 if you have any questions or feel you need any support.


PICTURE PERFECT – DOORSTEP PORTRAITS CAPTURE LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

When life as we know it came to a halt a few months back, photographers Saul and Sue at Trent House Studios decided to take the opportunity to capture this moment in time. They reached out to friends and family, made sure social distancing was respected at all times and after a few weeks’, the Lockdown 2020 Doorstep Portraits project was created. “After our beautiful studio had to close, leaving us with very little that we could do, we started to notice that photographers up and down the country were out in their neighbourhoods capturing friends and families on their doorsteps.” says Saul, “After a brief discussion about whether it was the right thing to do, we decided that as long as we followed the guidelines, why not? We are really pleased with how the images have turned out and hope all those involved will look back at them with fond memories of a time in history when life as we know it stopped.”


To view the gallery, please visit the Trent House Studios Facebook Page

ARTIST INVITES US ALL TO ENGAGE IN A LITTLE BIT OF  ART THERAPY

Renowned UK artist, Magnus Gjoen, has invited the nation to create their own masterpieces using  printed versions of some of his most known works of art.


The ultimate antidote to boredom, the Art Therapy colouring-in set (£45) includes six 21 by 21cm designs, printed on the highest quality 250gsm archival paper. The works can be coloured-in or decorated however you see fit. While watercolours and a fine gold pen will give the best results, Gjoen encourages his audience to use whatever they have to hand to complete their masterpieces.


Find them here


LOCAL EMPLOYEE HELPS COUNCIL’S FOOD BOXDELIVERY SERVICE


Wayne Porter, who lives in Solihull and works as part of the property management team at Prologis UK, stepped forward to help when he heard that the local council was struggling to source the cardboard boxes needed for delivering food supplies to local people. The Council is currently delivering more than 250 food boxes per week to local people who are self-isolating due to illness or shielding themselves by staying indoors.


In his role as a property manager, Wayne stays in touch with a variety of businesses spread across 22 logistics parks, which are owned and run by Prologis in the UK.


He quickly identified that one customer, RAJA UK, a packaging business based in Bedford, was ideally placed to lend a hand. RAJA UK was happy to extend its support and has donated hundreds of cardboard boxes directly to the Council for its food box delivery service to homes in the borough.


Not wanting to leave things there, Wayne volunteered to help pack the food boxes with essential fresh food items. He also responded to a further request for assistance by sourcing paper bags from Coventry-based MacFarlane Packaging and 5,000 were delivered to the Council last week.


People on the ‘extremely vulnerable’ list or those self-isolating due to illness can find out more about Solihull Council’s food box delivery service here: shielding@solihull.gov.uk.


SOUTHSIDE BID CALLED FOR GREATER SUPPORT FOR DISTRICT POST PRIDE CANCELLATION


The organisers of Birmingham’s beloved Pride festival have taken the decision to postpone this year’s event, which had already been moved to September, to May 2021. As an integral part of Southside calendar, the announcement is sure to have a serious impact on the district’s once bustling economy.


Julia Robinson, Southside BID manager, is calling for the government to give additional support to the hospitality sector, which is struggling to stay afloat since the start of the government-imposed lockdown. But with Pride now cancelled completely for 2020, businesses in the district will be further impacted.


Julia said: “Birmingham Pride is one of the biggest celebrations of LGBTQ+ culture outside London. Last year the city, and Southside in particular, welcomed more than 75,000 revellers over the course of the weekend and this year’s event was set to be the biggest yet. However, given the circumstances, understandably it just can’t go ahead, with the team behind the festival putting public safety first.


“Pride brings in a staggering amount of revenue for our district, from the hotels, shops and restaurants to the bars and clubs that Southside is renowned for, the whole area benefits from the flagship event. With so much of Southside temporarily closed during the lockdown, all our businesses are already struggling. As a result, Southside BID is supporting the national #RaiseTheBar campaign, calling for the government to increase the threshold of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant that was launched at the start of the lockdown. Currently the threshold for eligible businesses is £51,000, but we want to see this raised to £150,000. By doing so, many of our bigger venues could be saved from going under.


SMALL FIRM PEER TO PEER SUPPORT IN SOLIHULL 


Small business support network Enterprise Nation has expanded its Local Leaders network into Solihull and Birmingham after an overwhelming response from small business owners to help their own business communities recover from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.


The local group will be led by business consultant Mike Allen, part of a nationwide team of experts at Business Doctors.


Mike said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the EN community. Since the crisis hit, I’ve been busy supporting my clients through this and feel there’s never been a moment when a supportive community and local network could be more needed.”


The initiative coincides with Enterprise Nation research[1], which suggests that while 83 per cent of businesses are still trying to secure financial stability during lockdown, 53 per cent believe they WILL get to a stable point when they will be ready to work on improving skills ready for when things get back to normal – and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) are already on it.


According to the survey, another 63 per cent said they wanted to develop increased digital capability such as e-commerce. Another 60 per cent said they were planning to diversify their business so they could easily pivot. To get involved go to https://www.enterprisenation.com/campaigns/headsup/


WORDS OF WISDOM

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”


Mark Twain

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Fraser Urquhart Media, LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE, 07713 740 272.  Copyright Fraser Urquhart Media 2020