Sunshine, PPE, Colouring In And So Many Cocktails! - FU Loves Birmingham #12
The warmth of the sun on your face always makes life better doesn’t it?
The good weather has been such good friends to us all over lockdown. Now that we can begin to see ourselves slowly coming out of our houses and back into the everyday world a clement climate will be all the more important as we socialise outdoors more. Expect your pub car parks and city squares to shrink and make way for more tables and chairs so that we can all start socialising safely and at a distance.
We’ve all had to adapt and it’s heartening to see so many small businesses have been such busy bees amend their offering for a new world with super quick timing. The fact that many of them have been doing this with a focus on helping their community is incredibly heartening. That’s why, in each newsletter, we’re going to start celebrating an Unsung Hero and highlight the difference they’ve made. You can find the first of these near the tail end of this newsletter so keep reading! If you’d like to nominate a company or an individual who you think has made a difference, then click here and let us know.
In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine, stay alert, stay safe and stay positive Jon, Kevin & the #FUFighters.x
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
Why don’t insects get Corona Virus?
Because of their Anty Bodies
SOUTHSIDE SEEKS ARTISTS FOR RAINBOW TAKEOVER Southside Business Improvement District (BID) is calling for budding artists to submit their rainbow artwork, which will be beamed out over the area on the Hippodrome big screen. Southside BID hopes the colourful display will spread positivity and keep the message of support for keyworkers going, plus offering families the chance to have their work on show in the city centre. For more information and to share your rainbow creation, please contact Southside@rewiredpr.com. Entries should be submitted by Friday 22nd May.
JOB RETENTION SCHEME EXTENDED ... AGAIN Toni Robinson, Managing Director of NucleusHR provides an urgent update for employers on the latest announcement from the government regarding the extension of the Job Retention Scheme. In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, on Tuesday 12th May, the Chancellor announced an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of October 2020. Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended for a further four months with no changes to the 80% that employees are eligible to receive. The Scheme will remain in its current form until the end of July 2020 but as the Country prepares to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government are making provisions for the scheme to be more flexible from August 2020. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive the 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 per month. Further details as to how the scheme will specifically work from August will be shared by the government in due course. The government have published figures that confirms that 935,000 employers have utilised the scheme, with over 7.5 million jobs being furloughed with a current claim value of over £10 billion. With cost savings dominating client conversations with NucleusHR currently, there is no doubt that this scheme has saved millions of jobs across the country, and by extending the scheme and introducing flexibility from August may well safeguard more. If you wish to take further advice on how best to handle COVID-19 in your business, please contact NucleusHR on 07960 418494 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WE’RE ALL ‘GIN’ THIS TOGETHER! M&S is putting the fun into to the summer drinks trolley with a limited edition bottle release of shining silver Prosecco (10) and a GLITTER GLOBE Elderflower Gin Liqueur (£15) – just what we need to add a little sparkle right now! Delicious summer aperitifs by themselves, they’ve also created THE cocktail of the summer: “We’re all gin this together”. For the perfect serve, see recipe below.
24/7 MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT NOW JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY A new 24/7 telephone helpline means people in Birmingham and Solihull experiencing mental health difficulties during the current pandemic, now have easily accessible support to help them with common issues such as stress, sadness, disrupted sleep and anxiety. The support line offers confidential emotional help, guidance and reassurance to people of all ages and backgrounds, including key workers. To access the service, simply call 0121 262 3555, any day, or time. BID HOSTS FREE EVENTS FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK As the countrywide lockdown continues to impact on the population’s mental wellbeing, Business Improvement District, Colmore BID has announced a programme of free online events for Mental Health Awareness Week, 18-24 May, 2020. To aid in improving the city’s mental health during lockdown, Colmore BID has teamed up with a variety of physical and mental health practitioners to aid participants identify the triggers of anxiety, while providing techniques to help manage them. The week will feature high intensity interval training (HIIT) and nutrition advice from Urban Training, meditation classes with health and wellbeing centre Jung Shim, a webinar on mindfulness and mental health with Mindspace, yoga with Katy Insley and much more. Find out more at www.colmorebusinessdistrict.com/events
LEGENDARY RECORDING ARTISTS AUCTION MEMORABILIA IN SUPPORT OF NHS CHARITIES TOGETHER Artists old and new, as well as friends of Island Records, have donated one-of-a-kind lots for the One Love Covid-19 Relief Auction to raise funds for relief efforts. The event will be hosted by Emmy®, Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer and playwright Billy Porter and will be broadcast live from 6pm BST on May 21st. Incredible, once in a lifetime lots include a pair of Amy Winehouse’s stilettos worn by Amy, plus all of Amy’s album releases on vinyl; beautifully handwritten lyrics to ‘Sweet Dreams’ that’s been written and signed by Annie Lennox; a rare Mr Brainwash / Bob Marley print signed by Ziggy Marley; a signed guitar from Shawn Mendes and handwritten lyrics for ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ by Bono and a signed ‘The Joshua Tree’ 30th anniversary vinyl boxset, amongst many other lots. To bid on the lots, you must register in advance with Island’s partner Omega Auctions, further information can be found via Island Records’ dedicated oneloveauction.com website.
BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL: GETTING YOUR OFFICE READY FOR RETURNERS Tackling the challenging issue of how to allow staff back into workplace whilst keeping everyone safe and healthy seems something of a minefield! How can a responsible employer create procedures and solutions that satisfy the latest government advice (HM Government Guide) and align this to fit into an existing workplace environment without costly wholescale changes to deliver the required protection for its workforce? Many businesses are pondering this very question and looking for solutions to utilise within their existing estate/offices, while trying to figure out how this can be achieved to fit onto both standard and bespoke desks and counters without the need to amend the wiring set-up of an open-plan office! In understanding this problem, Darren Cotton from Cotton INK (local freelance designer) has joined forces with an existing contractor to design and manufacture PPE screens to fit onto any existing desks or counters. So far, they have designed screens for customer facing desks for a national bank and call centres dividers, as well as solutions to fit standard desks for a number of private clients. Solutions are being produced that can be easily placed onto a desk with either no, or minimal fixings to allow for removal when required and to aid cleaning. They can even add frosting designs or branding as required. If you believe such a solution could help your business restart in these challenging times, please contact Darren at email@example.com for further information.
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.
HAMPERS FOR FRONTLINE HEROES HITS MILESTONE Two local mums are celebrating having distributed 300 hampers to frontline workers across healthcare facilities in the West Midlands. Key workers in hospitals and care homes, as well as health workers who are self-isolating, have been surprised with ‘thank-you packages’ containing items such as food, drinks and much-needed hand creams. The hampers have been delivered by a group of 40 community volunteers who have joined the good cause. Hampers for Heroes was set up just four weeks ago by Solihull based friends Victoria Hanson and Yasmin Paulson, to show love and appreciation to key workers across the region for the heroic work they are doing, day in day out. To date, Hampers for Heroes has raised nearly £3,000 via its Gofundme page, of which 100% goes towards running the good cause and purchasing items for the hampers. With their hampers for teams of 30, they have reached around 10,000 members of staff.
ASTON VILLA AND LUKE 1977 TEAM UP FOR NHS West Midlands fashion brand LUKE 1977 and Aston Villa have launched their second capsule formalwear Dapper Villan range. The range is a luxurious limited-edition line created for the claret & blue faithful. LUKE 1977 will be donating 30% of sales from the new range to the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust Charity. The Trust supports our brilliant Hospitals in Birmingham including The Queen Elizabeth, Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals. Justine Davy, Head of Fundraising at University Hospitals Birmingham Charity, said: “On behalf of our 20,000 members of staff across our hospitals I would like to thank LUKE and Aston Villa for choosing University Hospitals Birmingham Charity as the beneficiary partner for the Dapper Villan collection. At this really difficult time we are using the generous donations that we receive to fund those things that will make a difference to our NHS Superheroes and the patients that they are treating.” See the range here
CONSTRUCTION COULD KICKSTART ECONOMIC RECOVERY An £11.27bn investment in construction and a series of strategic decisions around new home building could kick start the UK’s economic recovery and deliver a £33bn return for the Government, according to experts at Birmingham City University. Experienced regional economist Dr Steve McCabe and construction expert Mike Leonard have produced the Build Back Better: Covid-19 Economy Recovery Plan which features a blueprint for a safe return to construction, a set of recommendations to help stimulate demand for new homes and home improvement, and details on how to build essential infrastructure and train a new generation of skilled workers – acting as a catalyst for growth and delivering income for HMRC. The plan, which follows a clear instruction from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that those in construction and manufacturing should now return to work, also calls on the Government to stand by its commitment to “do everything it takes” to fight the virus and support the UK economy, by investing £11.27bn in a wide reaching programme, designed to create mass employment and produce a £33 billion return.
NO FLOUR OR YEAST? NO PROBLEM! With home baking seeing a massive surge in popularity since the coronavirus outbreak saw us all spending much more time indoors, supermarket shelves emptied of key ingredients, such as flour and yeast, and internet recipe searches have hit an all-time high. Available to buy online today, Roberts’ premium dough mix – the Get Baking Kit – will make sure that bakers across the land have everything they need to get started on their homemade artisan white loaves, rolls and pizza bases. Just add water and olive oil to this very versatile vegan-friendly mix – which is made with Roberts’ very own highest-quality flour – and then stir it up and knead it before putting in the oven. It’s ideal for those who are just starting out, for fun with the kids, or when time is tight, but you still want the delicious homemade baked taste. Each 1kg kit makes a large white loaf and 12 white bread rolls, a large white loaf and four pizza bases or a large white loaf, six white rolls and two pizza bases. There are loads of possibilities - it’s up to each home baker to decide on their perfect batch. And there’s no rush. Once the kit’s opened, you’ve got three months to bake it all up. The Get Baking Kits come in funky recyclable paper bags and are available online, from today, at Roberts’s new online shop for a special launch price of just £8.50.
ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY RELEASES DIGITAL SONNETS IN SOLITUDE PROJECT The Royal Shakespeare Company have released a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets self-recorded by RSC actors while in lockdown. Many of the actors were working with the RSC at the time of the theatre’s temporary closure on 17 March and have been unable to perform or rehearse since. The RSC will release 90 of the 154 sonnets over the coming weeks which will be available to view via the RSC's You Tube channel Miles Jupp, Alexandra Gilbreath, Antony Sher, Emma Fielding and Rosie Sheehy are just some of the actors involved in Sonnets in Solitude. rsc.org.uk/sonnets-in-solitude
HOSPICE LAUNCHES CHOCOLATE THEMED FUN RUN Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has announced new plans for a personal running challenge which rewards participants with chocolatey treats once they reach their 5k or 10k target. The tasty fun run will see sweet-toothed runners complete either a 5k or 10k run at a time and place to suit them, all whilst raising vital sponsorship for the local charity. The only rule is that they follow government advice on safe social distancing. Once completed, the Hospice will then send chocolatey goodies and a commemorative medal through the post as a well-earned reward. The Hospice is still providing urgent care and support to local people living with life-limiting illness. Its staff are working on the frontline, providing round-the-clock care at its Inpatient Unit and offering critical support in people’s homes. Its expert team of doctors, nurses, bereavement counsellors and more are also offering digital consultations and phone support to patients and their loved ones during this crisis. The Chocolate 5k and 10k Challenge is suitable for all ages and abilities. It’s free to sign up but the Hospice is encouraging runners to raise a minimum sponsorship of £15 to help fund its critical care during the Covid-19 crisis. To sign up, visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/the-virtual-chocolate-5k-10k
GET COLOURING SOME CLASSIC ALBUM ARTWORK Sony Music UK have launched a brand-new mindfulness project based around an ultimate online colouring book for any music lover. Helping to create an atmosphere of calm and relaxation with the help of music and creativity, The Colouring Sessions, is jam-packed with templates of some of the world’s most iconic album covers to colour in. Album cover templates range from Elvis and Jimi Hendrix to Judas Priest and Jamiroquai, from George Ezra and Little Mix to Foo Fighters. The site also hosts a series of specially created playlists to complement the colouring sessions, creating the ultimate music-lover’s mindful environment. For the programme, Sony Music UK has opened their vast archive of beautiful, striking and creative album artwork from the past 70 years. The templates, which can be coloured digitally or printed at home, are available NOW via www.thecolouringsessions.com.
IF WE MUST WEAR MASKS THEN LET’S MAKE ‘EM PRETTY! A range of beautiful Liberty Print face masks have been launched with the goal of raising £10,000 for NHS Charities Together. Brora has created Liberty print face masks made using two outer layers of Liberty Print cotton and a middle layer of nonwoven TNT fabric. This layer of fabric is made from Polypropylene and Viscose and is breathable, yet waterproof and helps to prevent the passing of contaminated fluids. Retailing for £19, Brora are donating £10 from each to NHS Charities Together, the rest covers the fabric, lining, making, transport, and VAT. Available to order now at www.brora.co.uk
£3M FREE ADVERTISING FUND Mail Metro Media has joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to give small firms struggling in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic free advertising. From now, businesses can apply for £3,000 worth of advertising to use in titles such as Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Metro and The i. FSB have created a dedicated website allowing applicants from across the UK to apply for the funding. Businesses must have been in existence longer than 6 months, have no more than 150 employees and have a turnover of less than £6 million. Applications can be made at: www.grants.fsb.org.uk
BOUNCE BACK LOAN SCHEMES NOT WORKING Many small and medium sized enterprises, which are keeping up to 16 million people employed in the UK, are struggling to access the Governments’ Bounce Back Loan scheme, while others are ineligible, say leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg. Richard Churchill a business advisory partner at the firm said; “Whilst there have been many success stories, there are still far too many occasions where businesses are struggling to access the funding. High volumes of enquiries have led to lenders’ websites crashing and difficulty in making a submission, as well as delays in funding being received.”
TREAT YOUR NHS HEROES TO AN ALL NEW DO AT BENJAMIN RYAN HAIR Benjamin Ryan Hair are asking you to nominate a member of the NHS for a free priority booking Deluxe Cut & Blow Dry at Benjamin Ryan Hair to say thank you to these selfless individuals on the front line. The city centre salon we will be offering five NHS workers a chance to experience their ultimate pampering sessions when they reopen their doors. To nominate a member of the NHS who you feel deserves some TLC click here NOMINATE NOW
UPSKILL IN LOCKDOWN: 10 FREE ONLINE RESOURCES TO LEARN
Whether you’ve been furloughed or perhaps you just have a bit more time on your hands at the moment, it’s important to keep those synapses sharp.
As part of their Key Worker Nation Report, money.co.uk have put together the best online training courses to help you upskill during lockdown, and they’re all completely free. These incredible online courses offer everything you need to learn a new skill; you never know where these courses could take you: from cooking to bookkeeping, photography to digital marketing- find out more here.
SIFA FIRESIDE CELEBRATES FUNDRAISING MILESTONE
Birmingham organisation SIFA Fireside is celebrating after surpassing its fundraising milestone of £50,000 following its flagship event, the Big Brummie Camp Out. SIFA Fireside, which supports vulnerable adults in the city launched its latest campaign, #SIFASurvives, in a bid to help secure its future after being forced to close its doors due to the Government guidelines that were put in place following COVID-19. Held on the Early May Bank Holiday (May 8), the Big Brummie Camp Out brought groups of friends and families across the city together, who enjoyed a ‘camp out’ in the homes, whilst helping to raise vital funds for SIFA Fireside. Backed by the likes of Joe Lycett, Jess Philips MP and SIFA patron, Alex Claridge (The Wilderness), the event broke through SIFA’s £50,000 target, raising a total of £54,188. To find out how you can support #SIFASurvives and donate to the appeal, visit bit.ly/BigBrummieCampOut.
THEATRE LAUNCHES ONLINE WORKSHOPS TO KEEP CREATIVE UNDER LOCKDOWN
Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has announced a range of lockdown activities to help people stay connected during our shared isolation. Aimed at bringing the community together and inspiring creativity, these new projects will form part of their Between Stages programme, which already includes a wide range of educational resources, videos, podcasts, blogs and shows to enjoy while the building remains temporarily closed.
Activities include #CityWarmUps, a series of videos that will be shared on the Belgrade’s website and social media at 8.30am every Monday, to help people get their week off to a happy and healthy start. Each week, local creatives including actors, singers, drama practitioners and dancers will take audiences step-by-step through the warm-ups they use to prepare for workshops, shows and rehearsals. Viewers are encouraged to follow along at home and share their thoughts and photos using #CityWarmUps.
Then on Monday evenings, a free online playreading group with be running via Zoom as part of Nick Hern Books’ national #NHBPlaygroup initiative. Every Wednesday, the publisher is making one of its extensive catalogue of plays free to read online for a week, before releasing a Q&A podcast with the writer. Those interested in taking part in the Belgrade’s online group will have the weekend to read through the plays online before collectively reading and discussing extracts via Zoom at 6pm on Wednesday evenings. For more information, please visit the Belgrade Theatre’s Facebook page and check out the “Events” tab.
For more information and to stay up-to-date with the Belgrade Theatre’s online programme of activity, please visit its Between Stages hub at www.belgrade.co.uk/between-stages.
PREMIUM COCKTAIL KITS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR Cocktail Porter is a new service that delivers craft cocktail boxes directly to your door. Each cocktail kit is carefully curated with individual recipes for budding bartenders to stir and shake the perfect cocktail at home. Complete with premium bottles of spirits, artisanal infusions, hand-crafted cordials, home-grown garnishes, and infused tonics – that’s one way to stay alert! Cocktail Porter’s First Collection includes a Passionfruit Margarita, Elderflower ‘Le Fizz’ spritz, Whisky Highball Collection, Cold Brew Espresso Martini and a Seville Orange Negroni. Each cocktail is available in The Petite Kit (£45, 6 serves) and The Porter (Full Size) Kit (£85, 17-20 serves) and if ordered by 3pm at cocktailporter.co.uk will be delivered the next day. Just like the hangover.
IN A VIRTUAL WORLD IS IT TIME TO PUT PEN TO PAPER? Leading stationery brand, Manuscript Pen Company, is encouraging people across Birmingham to share positive messages, stay connected and show others they are thinking of them during lockdown as part of its #SaySomethingSpecial campaign. Manuscript first launched the #SaySomethingSpecial campaign in 2018 in conjunction with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and saw over 500 letters and messages sent by post or via social media to spread positivity and well wishes to
those in the hospital’s care. With many families, friends and colleagues forced apart due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manuscript is encouraging people to put pen to paper and write messages to spread positivity, show loved ones they’re thinking of them or to show their appreciation for the NHS and other keyworkers as they continue to work on the front line. Whether it’s a colourful picture, a small piece of fine art, a handwritten letter demonstrating your calligraphy skills or a simple note, you can take a photo of your positive message and share across your social media channels using the hashtag #SaySomethingSpecial and by tagging Manuscript in the post.
IT’S ALL GREEK AS TAVERNA LAUNCHES HOME DELIVERY SERVICE FOR GOOD CAUSES
Lakis Greek Kitchen is an annual Greek Taverna based in the West Midlands, that raises money for good causes. Due to the pandemic LGK (as it is known) is unable to open its doors to the public this year in which would have been the 7th year running since the charity was established in 2014.
The show, however, must go on and LGK have partnered with Theos Food Company, who have launched an online shop with their tasty products and Street Kitchen Brothers who will be delivering Greek food directly to people’s doors, a service which currently does not exist in Birmingham.
LGK have launched its “Kleftiko Weekends” in which the famous lamb wrapped parcels cooked together with Cyprus potatoes, and a secret home recipe, is available for home delivery. The clay oven speciality will be available every Saturday and Sunday from the weekend of 9th of May until the end of July 2020. Profits from this year’s kitchen will go to two local charities.
Orders need to placed by Thursday each week if possible or booked online or via telephone on www.streetkitchenbrothers.co.uk.
WORDS OF WISDOM
"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet." Stephen Hawking