SEASIDE, SUMMERY STAYCATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA – FU LOVES THE MIDLANDS #18
Eurgh I hate social media… actually let me clarify, I hate the ‘this time last year’ function on social media. This is because ‘this time last year’ is usually the time we pack up our snorkels ready for our summer breather in the sun. Therefore, every morning this week my phone has pinged up pictures of me being happy on a beach or chilling. It’s been a horrible way to tease and taunt me before breakfast as this year’s holiday is no more. Luckily, we’ve been able to postpone it until next year, so all is not lost.
So instead, in the spirit of positivity and not letting the squawks of a smartphone spoil my life, we’re going to make this summer the best staycation ever! We’ve already built a bar in the garden and got the BBQ on a constant low heat ready for entertaining family and friends. The dogs have packed their bones and their blankets for some socially distanced days at the beach (we recommend Gibraltar Point for miles of unspoilt sand, which is always inexplicably empty) and I may have been investigating freestanding swimming pools online. I know it’s basically a big paddling pool, but we can use our imaginations.
With every day may seem like ‘one step forward, two steps back’, the summer holidays officially starting may not seem like much to get excited about. But get excited we must. There’s no doubt that this is going to be a challenge but we have one thing that’s bound to make sure we have the best summer ever: each other. Let’s take the time to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life with friends and family this summer, be kind to ourselves and to be kind to others.
Memories are still being made, so we might as well make them good ones together! Or how’s that going to look on Timehop this time next year!?
Stay summery, stay kind. Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
It took me five minutes to walk to the pub, but half an hour to walk back.
The difference was staggering.
TATTU TO REOPEN WITH ALL NEW AT HOME DINING EXPERIENCE
Contemporary Chinese restaurant Tattu will reopen its doors to the public this Thursday with a selection of new dishes including a Surf and Turf Shumai with beef short rib and sticky red prawn (£10); Kung Po King Prawn with chilli, garlic and onion (£20) and a Banana Fritter dessert with caramel and shortbread (£8). We’re already in love. Bookings can be made via tattu.co.uk only and will be limited to parties of up to six
For those who prefer to enjoy the restaurant’s range at home, there’s ‘Tattu to You’ – a new delivery and click/collect service that launches on Monday. It’s been designed to bring the Tattu experience to your door with an exclusive selection of its most loved dishes and cocktails including the infamous Skull Candy. Orders can be placed online only at tattu.co.uk where diners can select an option of contact-free delivery with Deliveroo or click and collect from the restaurant.
Tattu to You will also feature a scannable QR code that allows diners to link to an exclusive playlist of Tattu’s resident DJ mixes to recreate the famous vibe of the restaurants at home.
From Monday 3rd August until Monday 31st August, Tattu will also be participating in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, offering diners 30% off food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per person.
ENJOY EVERARDS NEW LIMITED-EDITION AMBER ALE NO.1
Everards have produced a limited amount of Amber Ale No.1 mini casks, so you can enjoy their flavoursome and fruity limited-edition beer straight from their cellar at home.
Amber Ale No.1 is an aromatic, full bodied ale brewed with three varieties of British hops. It has been brewed with established names like Maris Otter barley and Challenger hops alongside more modern British bred and grown hops selected by our Head Brewer like Archer and Minstrel.
Click here to find out more and where to order your very own Mini Cask.
GRANT PROVIDES £19K BOOST FOR LEICESTERSHIRE COMPANY
There’s no denying the last few months have been extremely tough for our local businesses and it’s safe to say we are not out of the woods yet. One thing that has brought us a lot of joy (and pride) is the resilience and strength shown by many companies that have dusted themselves off and started the fight back to recovery.
One such business is KJN Automation in Peckleton, Leicestershire which has become the first company to receive a Business Growth Grant from the Business Gateway Growth Hub. This investment enables it to become the UK’s first sole distributor of a lighter, more versatile product using carbon fibre.
For more click here.
THE FOODIE AWARDS COMES TO COVENTRY
A celebration of the best of Coventry and Warwickshire’s food and drink scene is at the heart of a new awards program designed to support businesses as they re-emerge from lockdown. The first Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry, will culminate in a ceremony in May 2021 following a finalists’ night on January 25th at the city’s new Telegraph Hotel – which opens its doors for the first time later this year.
Judges and public votes will decide on winners in several categories that focus on quality, service and innovation with three further special awards to recognise the extraordinary efforts of businesses and individuals throughout the coronavirus pandemic – including the COVID-19 Resilience Award sponsored by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.
For a full list of categories and all the information, visit https://foodieawards.co.uk
GO BACK STAGE WITH THE LITTLE THEATRE’S NEW PODCAST
The Little Theatre has launched a new quarterly podcast available initially on the theatre’s YouTube channel, but shortly also on iTunes, Spotify etc.
The podcast is aimed at both the active members of Leicester Drama Society, and those who watch productions at the theatre… along with a wider theatre audience. Released approximately every three months, the programme will include features on all aspects of theatre life both on and backstage. The podcast will also look at the wider world of theatre, including interviews with actors, directors and playwrights.
Episode 1 looks at The founding of the Little Theatre: the impact of COVID-19 and the theatre’s closure, what theatre to watch in lockdown along with an interview with Playwright David Wood on adapting ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’.
LEICESTER AUTHOR RELEASES NEW BOOK THE HUMANITARIAN
Former journalist, aid worker and humanitarian reporter, Andrew Goss, has released his debut novel illustrating courage, compassion and political intrigue in the wake of a devastating national disaster.
In the face of crushing adversity, the local community must pull-together to pave a new life on the other side of this earth-shattering catastrophe.
All the author’s proceeds from the eBook edition will be divided between Leicester’s Action Homeless and desperately poor communities in Pakistan.
Click here to find out more about the book!
UTILITA DRIVE IN CONCERTS CANCELLED
Due to the risk of localised lockdowns, The Live From The Drive-In concert series due to be held across the country including Resorts World will no longer proceed as planned this summer. This sadly affects concerts and shows we have previously recommended, including Marc Almond and the musical, SIX. Full refunds will be issued directly to all ticket holders within the next 7 days.
Find out more at https://www.livenation.co.uk/utilitalivefromthedrivein
CASHLESS PARKING LAUNCHED IN ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH AND COALVILLE
North West Leicestershire District Council have launched cashless parking in its 1,615 on- and off-street parking spaces across Coalville and Ashby De la Zouch. The service enables drivers to pay for their parking using their mobile devices.
Residents and visitors have the option to pay for their parking using the PayByPhone app or to call the PayByPhone automated payment service line, the telephone number of which is displayed on signs in the car parks or on street signage.
A MENTOR IS SOMEONE WHO IS ALWAYS IN YOUR CORNER
De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) is offering business bosses free mentoring and coaching as they try to plan their next steps.
But many people may be unfamiliar with the benefits of mentoring and how it can help to deliver results and bring clarity to plans and ideas.
Read more here.
BEAR GRYLLS LAUNCHES BEARCATIONS THIS SATURDAY AT THE NEC
The Bear Grylls Adventure is offering a world of adventure under one roof PLUS up to 50% off selected tickets to its range of epic experiences, giving families a staycation with an action-filled twist. The UK staycation is on the rise, and this year The Bear Grylls Adventure wants to give adventurers a #Bearcation to remember, all without leaving the UK.
Being launched by Bear Grylls this Saturday, those dreaming of warmer climates can try a truly tropical experience with The Bear Grylls Adventure’s Cage Snorkel and Shark Dive activities.
Those looking to try their hand at the climbing walls will have the challenge of over 20 routes to choose from, all inspired by some of the most breath-taking – and often, challenging – climbing routes from around the world. And for the truly adventurous, the iFLY Indoor Skydiving experience offers adrenaline junkies the thrill of flight within its own custom wind tunnel. No parachute, no plane, no wings – just you, the iFLY expert and the air. With speeds of up to 162mph, participants get to experience the thrill of freefall twice; the equivalent of three 12,000 ft real life sky dives. Sick bags not included.
The attraction has reopened with new social distancing measures and additional health and safety procedures to ensure the wellbeing of all guests and staff. The Bear Grylls Adventure’s #Bearcation promotion will make this the most action-packed summer holiday ever for those looking for adventure right on their doorstep. To grab this limited time offer of up to 50% off selected activity tickets, guests should head to beargryllsadventure.com and book for visit dates up to 6th September 2020.
SHOWCASE CINEMAS LAUNCHES VIDEO-ON-DEMAND SERVICE
Showcase Cinemas has announced that it is launching a new streaming service called Showcase at Home, offering a handpicked selection of films and event programming for fans at home or on the move. It includes new digital releases, nostalgic classics from the Flashback series, independent gems nurtured through the Spotlight strand, and a wealth of Event Cinema productions including theatre, musicals, stand-up comedy, exhibitions, and concert films.
The service features a library of titles, continually updated with High Definition films available to rent from £3.49 or buy from £7.99.
For more info on how to sign up click here.
MANDATORY MASKING: HOW TO AVOID AND TREAT SKIN DAMAGE FROM PPE
Wearing a face mask in UK shops and supermarkets will become mandatory from this Friday and will no doubt become the new normal but in the meantime we need to think about protecting our skin from damage and irritation caused by prolonged PPE.
GP and aesthetic doctor for skin-tech brand FOREO Dr. Raj Arora shares her top tips and advice.
Click here to see all the tips and advice!
CORONAVIRUS: HOW CAN BUSINESSES PREPARE FOR A RISE IN EMPLOYMENT DISPUTES?
West Midlands solicitors Enoch Evans LLP is warning businesses that they should prepare now for an anticipated rise in employment disputes due to potential discrimination or victimisation claims as the country eases out of lockdown.
The firm has introduced a bespoke, cost-efficient insurance backed employment protection scheme that covers companies against employee claims and offers unlimited access to a dedicated legal employment specialist.
Stephen Nixon, partner and head of commercial litigation at Enoch Evans LLP said: “Throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen a sharp rise in businesses and organisations approaching us with concerns related to potential employment disputes that may arise from decisions to furlough employees or make them redundant. Many businesses are not aware that legal fees are rarely recoverable in employment tribunal proceedings and so, they would remain out of pocket even if they were successful. Our employment protection scheme removes that obstacle, ensuring that the client can defend claims that lack merit without fearing the cost of doing so. We hope our insurance backed scheme helps a wide range of regional businesses to come out of lockdown prepared and stronger as a result.”
Find out more about the scheme here.
COULD CORONAVIRUS END HOMELESSNESS?
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen individuals, government, and industry work together to achieve the extraordinary; finding temporary housing for thousands of homeless people in the span of just a few weeks. It has proven that we can end homelessness in this country if we work together.
Homeless charity, Crisis, warns that unless we do something now and enact long-term as well as short-term solutions, the progress of the last few months will slip and risk being undone. With the end of homelessness within reach, Crisis is looking for help with finding those coming out of temporary accommodation secure and permanent homes.
DANCE GOES DIGITAL AT NUPUR ARTS
Leicester dance academy Nupur Arts have launched an online project designed to deliver a wide range of fitness activities to keep people active during lockdown, whilst helping to support local artists. Called ‘Nayee Disha’ translating into ‘new direction’; Nupur are offering a number of weekly dance classes, specialist workshops by guest artists and online music and dance performances.
The programme includes Bollyfitness by Nupur Arts tutors, Bollywood classes, Commercial/Hiphop workshops with guest artists (ages 14+), Seated dance and exercise for individuals with reduced mobility (all ages) as well as Yoga and Tai Chi for all ages. All activities are open to the public.
Click here to find out more.
BIRMINGHAM GETS ON ITS BIKE AT NEW EVANS STORE
Replacing the old site at Birmingham New Street Station, Evans Cycles have announced the launch of a new store on the ground floor of the popular House of Fraser building. Stocking over 250 bikes, as well as the latest products from leading brands like Trek, Brompton, Fox Clothing and GORE® Wear, the store also comes complete with a fully equipped workshop and Shimano Service Center – offering expert mechanical assistance and honouring Evans Cycles’ new 24 Hour Servicing Pledge.
Since reopening all its stores, Evans Cycles has provided hundreds of free bike MOTs to key workers and will continue to offer the service at the new Birmingham branch. Pumping up tyres, adjusting brakes and offering mechanical advice to keep the bikes of those who need them most in action.
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FOUNDATION PROVIDES ESSENTIAL SUPPORT TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGH CRUCIAL FUNDING
Following on from the success of the Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund, the latest designated pot of money from Heart of England is aiming to ensure that community projects can adapt safely to the ‘new normal’, so that they can continue carrying out essential support in their area. Since launching the new fund in May, the charity has supported 20 projects across Coventry and Warwickshire.
Stretching across the West Midlands and Warwickshire, the Foundation has lent a helping hand to a combined total of 70 causes across the West Midlands since it launched the Doing Things Differently Fund, with grants between £3,000 to £20,000 being awarded to support everything from online support groups to funding wellbeing packs.
Coventry and Warwickshire are two of the many areas that have benefitted from the fund, with 20 causes receiving a combined total of £225,295 from Heart of England Community Foundation, including vital services like Time Out, ILEAP Charity and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.
To find out more about the Doing Things Differently Fund, including details on how to apply and essential information, click here.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ZERO STAMP DUTY? DRESS YOUR HOUSE TO IMPRESS!
According to new research by regulated property buyers, Good Move, it takes people, on average, just 16.5 minutes to view a potential property. So, for those looking to sell their home, they don’t have long to leave a good and lasting impression. Here are their top 5 tips to help you dress your house to impress!
Click here for the 5 Top Tips!
FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION WORKSHOP FROM TOP 40 HITMAKER
The Birmingham Music Awards is supporting a FREE 7-Day Music Production Workshop, 1 – 2 hours per day, starting on the 27th July, with international music producer David Campos. David created the AMP Music Production Course eight years ago and will be teaching on what he calls the ’12 foundational pillars of great music production’ and then answering your questions in a Q&A session each day.
David has had multiple top 40 hits, sold over 1.5 million albums, won numerous awards, written hundreds of advertising jingles worldwide and mastered the process and techniques of kick-ass Music Production.
Register here now for the WORKSHOP.
MAJOR LEICESTER LOCOMOTIVE COLLECTION TO BE AUCTIONED IN AID OF HERITAGE RAILWAY
Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough is offering for sale an extensive collection of over 70 locomotives in their upcoming Live Steam auction, which due to Covid-19, will take place as an online-only auction on Tuesday 18th August.
The collection forms part of the estate of Kenneth ‘Mike’ Abbott and includes locomotives made by many leading model train companies. It is rare for a collection of this scope to come to auction and the proceeds of the sale have been bequeathed to the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. All lots will be offered without reserve.
Read more on this here.
ONE MONTH TO SUBMIT BUSINESS FESTIVAL EVENTS
Businesses have one more month to get their applications in to run an event in the Black Country Business Festival, before the closing date of 14 August. With over 75 events already lined up, the Business Festival is looking to be as popular as ever with a mix of digital, physical and hybrid events lighting up the programme.
Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, which initiated the BFBF three years ago, said, “Businesses in the Black Country are really embracing the Business Festival and I think it will be a true showcase of the Black Country’s resilience, putting our region in the national limelight. As we are emerging from the pandemic, our region is really showing its true colours with an air of positivity that is second to none. By running an event, organisers stand to get recognition and be seen to be leading the way in their field. It’s a great way to raise awareness at the same time as helping other businesses and contributing to rebuilding our economy.”
The 2020 Business Festival will be taking place right across the Black Country from 5-15 October Anyone wishing to submit an event needs to simply visit the BCBF website and complete the short application form.
THE BIG ESCAPE LIVE ANNOUNCES BIRMINGHAM OUTDOOR EVENT
An interactive outdoor escape experience launched in Birmingham just weeks before lockdown is going live in the city later this year. The Big Escape Live has been created so that hundreds can play the GPS activated game while still following social distancing rules.
The event scheduled for September will see groups of up to six people playing against each other with a leaderboard updated in real time giving those taking part a competitive edge.
The gaming experience sees the city turned into a giant playground with teams solving puzzles, cracking codes and completing challenges to take down Big Al’s casino in a classic heist.
Mark French from The Big Escape Live said: “We’ve made a number of changes to ensure people can play the game safely. “There’s a flexible start time from the Queen Victoria statue giving people the opportunity to play at different times. But as teams navigate the streets together, they’ll be near to each other which will hopefully create a buzz around the city – especially if they’re playing in fancy dress, which is optional! “Teams can choose when they play the game as tickets are valid for 6 months but after being locked in for so long, we wanted to try and create a fun and safe outdoor atmosphere for people to enjoy.”
The live event takes place on 19th September. Tickets cost £44 per team (a maximum of 6 people) with kids playing for free and can be booked at www.thebigescape.com
GETTING BACK INTO THE NEW NORMAL AND RETURNING TO WORK
As the country continues to ease itself into the ‘new normal’ with the reopening of shops, bars and restaurants, companies large and small are looking to begin welcoming their staff back to the office space with a phased return. While this may be welcome news for some who may have found it difficult in adjusting to working from home, leading Midlands mental health charity, Living Well UK is focusing on helping those whose may be experiencing concerns or worries around the transition.
Qualified in integrative psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, Holly Beedon, clinical lead at Living Well UK, has pulled together her six top tips that could help employees struggling to adapt to returning to work.
Read them here.
BIRMINGHAM REP OFFERS AN ONLINE TIME TO BREATHE
Created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, this week, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Lightpost Company began their series of free online events titled ‘Fix It: Time to Breathe’.
Designed to explore and share strategies on how we address the adversities that young African Caribbean men face in Arts, Health and Justice, the three events began on Tuesday (14 July) on the subject of trauma, followed by Justice and Rights yesterday. The digital conversation has, so far, brought together a mix of practitioners working with young people, young people, commissioners, decision-makers (including elected officials), service managers and community leaders.
Each Fix it event is structured to feature an introduction to guest speakers and young men from the Shifting the Dial project plus an open, solutions-focussed conversation between practitioners, decision-makers and young people on how we work together to tackle the issue.
The next event is 28th July and focuses on Healing. Each conversation is intended as an opportunity to learn, share and look at effective approaches inspired by the innovative Shifting the Dial programme – a programme dedicated to boosting young black men’s resilience and wellbeing. The Shifting the Dial Partnership is a unique collaboration comprised of The REP, First Class Legacy, Centre for Mental Health and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
Interested participants can find out more and book their place by visiting birmingham-rep.co.uk.
SUMMER SCHOOL RETURNS TO THE BELGRADE THEATRE
Kids climbing up the walls after lockdown? As restrictions start to lift, the Belgrade Theatre is throwing out a lifeline to tired parents with the return of its annual Summer School for kids aged 8-16.
Adapted to meet the latest Covid health and safety guidelines, these socially distanced sessions will run for four days each, offering youngsters from Coventry and Warwickshire a sorely needed opportunity to socialise, get active and exercise their creative muscles.
To manage numbers, kids will be divided into two separate groups, with the first Summer School running from 10-13 August and the second from 17-20 August. The theme for this year’s programme is Coventry Talking Heads, drawing inspiration from the many actors and artists who have created characters within the walls of the Belgrade.
Practical, hands-on sessions will include drama games and acting workshops, led by the Belgrade’s team of expert theatre practitioners. By the end of the four days, participants will have created their own original performance, which they’ll be able to share digitally with family and friends.
No previous drama experience is necessary to take part – just lots of enthusiasm and comfortable clothes and shoes for moving around in. Summer School sessions will take place at the Belgrade Theatre. Their Youth Acting Classes will run from 26 Sep-5 Dec and Adult Acting Classes will run from 25 Sep-4 Dec. For more information and to book, please visit www.belgrade.co.uk/acting-classes-and-summer-school.
POSTMAN SMASHES FUNDRAISING TARGET AFTER PUNISHING 12-HOUR CHALLENGE
An intrepid Kidderminster postman smashed his fundraising target for KEMP Hospice after completing a punishing endurance challenge that saw him run up and down Sion Hill 147 times, clocking 44.25 miles during his 12-hour mission on Saturday, July 11th.
The 46-year-old ex-serviceman had planned to raise £1,800 for KEMP but is now set to double that target as money continues to pour in. Shaun said the sight of people donating cash on the day spurred him on to finish what proved to be a mental and physical test.
Shaun expects his final total to be close to £4,000 thanks to the backing of local businesses Bepco, Hewett Recruitment and Rotary Creative Group.
To donate, visit https://justgiving.com/fundraising/shaun-marshall14
PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION MAKES £500,000 CONTRIBUTION TO CITY OF CULTURE
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK, has awarded £500,000 to the Coventry City of Culture Trust to support its Caring City and Collaborative City teams’ programmes in 2021.
The funding will go towards ensuring the cultural sector activity makes a significant contribution to economic, environmental, social and health and wellbeing targets for the city and region and that Coventry is recognised as a pioneering model of culture-led inclusive growth.
It will also support the Trust’s work in achieving a range of positive outcomes in 2021 and beyond, including community-led production and programming to increase cultural participation across the city.
APPEAL FOR VOLUNTEERS TO JOIN BIRMINGHAM’S BIG COMMUNITY SEW
Volunteers and donations are being sought to help provide free face coverings to charities, community groups and food banks across the city to meet rising demand. BrumScrubs has sent out 7,000 face coverings to non-profits, community groups, schools and charities in the past month. It is taking part in a national initiative called the ‘Big Community Sew’, which was set up by BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant and aims to provide communities with free face coverings.
The founder of BrumScrubs, Marcelle Porteous, said since it had been announced that face coverings will become mandatory in shops from 24th July, demand was outstripping supply. “We can’t produce them fast enough,” she explained. “We normally receive requests for over 350 face coverings a week, but now demand for face coverings is through the roof. Two weeks ago we were asked for 2,500 face covers to support refugees in the city, and it’s growing by the day. This is why we’re appealing for any sewers with home sewing machinery to get involved, as well as asking for donations to allow us to purchase more elastic and materials.
“We used to make scrubs, ear guards, scrub caps and scrub bags. Now the focus has shifted to face coverings, all of our sewing efforts and fundraising is focused on that. This is an opportunity for everyone in the Birmingham area to come together and make a difference by giving back to the wider community, to keep us all safe from a second wave.”
Anyone looking to volunteer or donate materials can get in touch with BrumScrubs by emailing email@example.com. Donations are also invited via a GoFundMe page, where just £10 can buy enough material and elastic to make thirty face coverings.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – Dalai Lama