Archives for category: West Midlands

Herefordshire Greens decisively gained a seat from the Conservatives in yesterday’s by-election.

Ellie Chowns, who lives in Canon Frome near Ledbury, on an organic farm, was elected.

She has a substantial track-record of local voluntary service as a primary school governor, a Home-Start volunteer, and treasurer of a housing association and enjoys gardening, hill-walking, and playing in a local folk band.

Her experience includes:

  • working in charities and education,
  • co-ordinating a group of MPs in Parliament,
  • tackling fuel poverty in East London,
  • and supporting peace-building in Northern Uganda.

Ellie was awarded a PhD in international development at the university of Birmingham and later and was a teaching fellow in the International Development Department. More detail about her extensive studies may be seen here. 

Currently she works for Voluntary Service Overseas.



West Midlands New Economics Group meeting:

Robert Kornreich’s introduction to a discussion on Molly Scott Cato’s book: Green Economics: An Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice will include PowerPoint slides.

Meeting: 5-7pm on Thursday 30th November, at the John Lewis Community Hub, available to community groups.

The community hub is on the 4th floor of the John Lewis store over New Street station (lift and escalator). The hub is immediately off the area where television sets are being sold.

All welcome.






West Midlands New Economics Group meeting:

Ulla Grant is going to talk about: “The Swedish Model”,  the historical background, its effect on social changes in Sweden, how the “Swedish Model” has declined since mid ‘70s due to economic and political pressure.  This has resulted in a widening social and economic divide.

5-7pm on Thursday 28th September at the John Lewis Community Hub, available to community groups.

It is located on the 4th floor of the John Lewis store over New Street station (lift and escalator). The hub is immediately off the area where television sets are being sold.





Time-pressed residents of Birmingham, Solihull, Cannock, Dudley, Coventry, Lichfield, Sandwell, South Staffs, Tamworth, Walsall and Wolverhampton who regularly scan their section of the Brummie site, appreciate the free service it gives, whatever their interests. Main news items covered, include a range of locally run websites, music and the arts, sport and business.

Links to them give those sites a wider readership than would otherwise have been possible. Until the final few months Mark was a helpful and courteous correspondent and this later lack of response was ascribed to pressure of other work, which involved travelling abroad. We now can see that there may have been health concerns claiming priority.

Three of many interests served: Our Birmingham, West Midlands Producers and Localise West Midlands thank him and hope that a way will be found to maintain the Brummie.





Young people in the West Midlands considering a manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship and their parents are invited to attend an open day at the EEF’s manufacturing and engineering at the Technology Hub in Aston, Birmingham.

From aerospace to automotive to robotics, EEF will connect best in class employers with young people to discuss a range of apprenticeships in a wide range of sectors. As well as getting a tour of the multi-million pound facility, the open day will offer people the opportunity to talk to trainers and current apprentices to find out what the training offers.

EEF currently trains 300 apprentices at the centre and is aiming to increase this to 400. Christine Chapman, centre manager, said: “Engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships provide a highly-skilled career in a sector which is thriving right across the West Midlands and beyond. Employers have a strong demand for skills of this type and this day presents an ideal opportunity for young people and their parents to see the training centre in action and to discuss career options with a variety of employers.”

Check EEF’s apprenticeship vacancies database to keep an eye on available positions or ring 0121 331 3930

EEF was formed in 1896 as the Engineering Employers’ Federation and merged in 1918 with the National Employers’ Federation. In November 2003 the EEF rebranded itself from the ‘Engineering Employers’ Federation’ to ‘EEF The Manufacturers’ Organisation’.




RailFuture West Midlands, assisted by Birmingham Friends of the Earth are holding a Metro Mayor forum event at the Council House. Jodie Etheridge, Communications, Birmingham Friends of the Earth sends news of the date, the time and the venue:

Thursday 6th April

6pm – 9pm

Banqueting Suite at the Council House, Victoria Square, B1 1BB

The forum will be exclusively focused on transport in the West Midlands. It will be an opportunity to hear the Metro Mayor candidates’ views and policies on rail, road, air, cycling and walking. You will also have the chance to ask them questions. It will aim to highlight the transport related challenges that the new mayor will face in keeping the West Midlands moving. If you would like to put a question to the candidates, send it by email to

The forum will be chaired by Lorna Slade, editor of Rail Professional.

Confirmed mayoral candidates (in alphabetical order) are:

The event is FREE but it is ticketed due to security at the Council House. Tickets must be obtained prior to the event. Get your FREE ticket quickly and easily at




West Midlands New Economics Group

Thursday 23rd February 5-7 pm

Open meeting: FOE Warehouse, 54 Allison St, B5 5TH


What are the economic policies of the mayoral candidates for the West Midlands Combined Authority? – presented by Ann Wackett.

The election takes place on 4 May. Are the candidates promising anything different from the parties that they represent?

All welcome.  

Contributions of £2 to cover the cost of room hire




A 2014 review paper in The Lancet Neurology identified a number of potential development neurotoxins in children. One of these — fluoride — has continued to fuel discussion in America since the article’s publication, as the water supplies of approximately 74 percent of the U.S. population have fluoridation.

Some U.S. municipalities are reassessing the amount of fluoride in their water sources — or whether to fluoridate at all. Below is news from America, for more detail see the Chemical Concern website.

portland-fluorideIn July, the commissioners of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, voted to stop adding fluoride. On the morning of August 4th, the city council of Port Angeles, Washington, stopped fluoridation of the municipal water supply following four ethics complaints against council members and repeated, intense City Council public comment sessions.

Early in 2016, residents of Healdsburg, California opposing fluoridation mounted a campaign for a moratorium on the additive until the city and fluoride suppliers provide detailed chemical reports and a written statement verifying its safety for ingestion.

In Collier County, Florida a debate over fluoridation has started. Camden Smith, the commissioner’s assistant, is to petition commissioners to stop fluoridation of the county’s drinking water. She said she will raise issues about the health and safety of using cavity-preventing fluoride in drinking water and ask commissioners to “stop putting a medical treatment into a public utility.”

Patton Borough, Pennsylvania is another town which has ended fluoridation due to the corrosion and metal leaching caused by the chemical additive.  According to Borough water engineer David Cunningham, of Keller Engineers, “because Patton has older water lines, the added fluorosilicic acid seemed to be loosening sediment and causing corrosion. ‘The fear is that you’re going to raise lead and copper levels.’

We read that voters in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, Arundel, and portions of Biddeford and York, Maine will have the opportunity to end fluoridation (‘an outdated practice;) on election day in November.


As University of Kent research published in the BMJ, found higher levels of hyperthyroidism in the fluoridated West Midlands, compared with the unfluoridated area in Greater Manchester, more of its residents might agree with Florida’s Camden Smith who says:

“I respect anyone’s choice to put medical treatment in their water and I ask to be given the same choice. Nobody should be forced to ingest fluoride”.

city-gavin-warrinsPhotograph: Gavin Warrins

A week after publishing Second city first: Birmingham trounces its rivals, Henry Mance and Andrew Bounds of the FT back this claim by citing the city’s hosting of the Conservative party conference starting on Sunday.

Other glories:

  • Theresa May launched her leadership campaign in Birmingham in July.
  • Her key adviser, Nick Timothy, has called for a focus on ordinary people, which he calls “Erdington modernisation” after the area of Birmingham where he grew up.
  • Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, ‘a Birmingham satellite town’, extols the Midlands as the home of William Shakespeare, of Charles Darwin, of Isaac Newton [and] Margaret Thatcher.”
  • It may also become the only new metropolitan region to elect a Conservative mayor, Andy Street, currently managing director of John Lewis.
  • It ‘claims’ to be the only part of the UK to run a trade surplus with China, thanks largely to Jaguar Land Rover.
  • On Friday it will ‘indicate its ambition’ by announcing plans to bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

Will the city’s popularity survive the demonstrations at the Conservative Party conference, planned by a range of less satisfied citizens?


 Tomorrow: Thursday 29th September. 5-7 pm WM New Economics Group

wmneg 2

BFOE warehouse

Open meeting: 5 – 7 pm. 

FOE Warehouse, 54 Allison St, B5 5TH

With the UK political landscape becoming clearer after a tumultuous summer the WM New Economics Group is meeting to exchange views on the way forward for some of the economic policies and ideas members have discussed over time.

All welcome