Birmingham

Birmingham

Investment puts innovation at the heart of freestyle training at Fitness First Stirchley

Fitness First Stirchley is set to showcase new innovations in the fitness world in a new freestyle area as part of a huge improvement programme.
General Manager at Fitness First Stirchley, Carol Fraser, said this new area is dedicated to showcasing the latest fitness innovations and providing members with a carefully designed space to work out alone, in teams or with a personal trainer.

“The  refurb has really grabbed the attention of our members and will be a place of innovation offering freedom to workout with the new leading fitness tools in the industry,’’ said Lee Winders (Health and Fitness Manager). “By having a dedicated area, members can easily identify what is new and staff can demonstrate the equipment so our members can incorporate new routines quickly and easily into their workouts.’’

Equipment such as Power Bags, Kettlebells, Plyometric Platforms, TRX bands, Bosu and ViPR are among the fitness tools being showcased in Fitness First’s largest freestyle area which opened at the club on Pershore Road in August 2011.

The area has already been a huge success with the members, and the team have devised a special timetable for gym floor classes showing members how to use the new equipment.

If you would like to try out the new freestyle area, you can download a free 1 day guest pass from www.fitnessfirst.co.uk or just call the club on 0121 458 6777.

Stoke agree Jerome fee


Birmingham have agreed an undisclosed fee with Stoke for striker Cameron Jerome, The Birmingham Gazette understands.
It is also believed prized centre-back Scott Dann is in Blackburn for talks and a medical with Rovers but a fee is yet to be agreed.
Transfer deadline day promises to be a hectic one at St Andrew's, with a number of comings and goings in the pipeline, but it is those of Jerome and Dann which appear set to grab the headlines, although there remains plenty of time for rival clubs to steal a march.
Bolton remain heavily linked with a move for Jerome while QPR have been tracking Dann, for whom a move to Arsenal or Liverpool appears unlikely to materialise.
Jerome is now expected to hold talks at the Britannia Stadium over a move to Staffordshire, with a fee likely to be in the region of £4million.
Blues, whose financial struggles have been well documented since their relegation from the top flight, rejected a bid of around £3million from Fulham for the 25-year-old earlier this month.
But Potters boss Tony Pulis has long had an interest in the former Cardiff marksman, and saw a double bid for Jerome and Dann rebuffed by Birmingham's hierarchy earlier this summer.
Dann, meanwhile, appears to be closing in on a move to Ewood Park following a summer of speculation over his future.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean worked with the former Coventry defender during his time as assistant manager to Chris Coleman at the Ricoh Arena.
Kean is in the market for a centre-half following Phil Jones' summer switch to Manchester United and Dann would see the switch as a chance to move back closer to his Merseyside roots. Yet it is believed there remains the stumbling block of agreeing a fee with Birmingham and that could allow rival clubs the chance to step in ahead of Wednesday night's 11pm deadline.

Mothercare spread their wings

As the UK economy shows no sign of improving any time soon, one of Britain’s most loved brands, Mothercare sets sail for the Middle East. Chief executive Ben Gordon said: “Iraq has a population of more than 30 million people – clearly it’s a country with lots of potential.”

Famous for a Golden age of affordable and comfortable baby products, Mothercare has now partnered with Alshaya and is due to open its first Iraqi branch by the end of the year. It’s been there and done it well though; launching its first Middle East branch in Kuwait way back in 1984. Well placed to tackle the growth of developing countries, with international sales amounting to £570.9 million in the past financial year Mothercare plans to open an inspiring 150 stores internationally expanding as far as South America.
The brand has also had successes last year with its acquisition of "yummy mummy" maternity brand Blooming Marvellous, whose founders, Judy Lever and Vivienne Pringle, started the brand in the 80s after they were unable to find fashionable maternity clothes on the high street during their own pregnancies. Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said Blooming Marvellous was an "excellent strategic fit" for Mothercare and "strengthens further our position as the leading specialist retailer for parents and parents-to-be".
Key differences may be more colourful designs and the need to think about alternative climates – Russian mums apparently like thicker tyres to cope with the snowfall.
So what can mum’s expect from the nations favourite parenting brand in AW 2011?
Well if it’s a buggy you’re looking for look no further than their Spin Pram and Pushchair, currently with 33% off.
They also have a fantastic range of maternity clothing available by clicking here.
Looking for anything else? Then don’t forget to check back soon when The Birmingham Gazette brings you an exclusive Mothercare nursery feature, and a maternity fashion feature from some of the top maternity brands from across the globe.
For more information visit www.mothercare.com

A judge rules Samsung Galaxy phones will have to stop selling via The Netherlands, but Android 3 might come to the rescue

A Dutch court has banned the sale of a number of Samsung Galaxy phones, although the company may be able to get around the injunction with software updates.

Yesterday, it emerged the court had banned sales of three Samsung Galaxy phones in a number of European countries, but only because of an infringement of one Apple patent.

Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive.

That patent, which relates to a photo scrolling function, would not be infringed by Android 3, otherwise known as Honeycomb, according to reports.

The ban on the Samsung Galaxy S, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Ace would come into force from 15 October.

Samsung therefore has to add Android 3 to those devices, or change the software so it does not infringe the photo scrolling patent, if it wants to be able to sell them across Europe.

As for the other patents being fought over, the judge did not uphold several of them, including claims Samsung had stolen design ideas from Apple.The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was not affected by the court ruling either.
Samsung welcomed the judgement, appearing convinced it would only affect Dutch customers, reports found.

However, as industry onlookers have noted, Samsung uses the Netherlands to import most of its devices into the EU, meaning the injunction would prevent sales in other European nations, including the UK.

“Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive,” Samsung said in a statement.

"With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers."As the patent infringement was related to Android issues and was upheld, it could mean Apple has grounds to take court cases to other competitors across Europe.

The finest hotel in Europe….River Park Hotel Kempinski Bratislava

If you are looking to take the trip of a lifetime without having to spend several thousand pounds each night, then you might do well to consider making a visit to the Kempinski Hotel River Park, Bratislava. Too often, 5* accommodation in Old Europe is noted for being too stuffy or too old to boast about the 'quaint, antique interiors' which truthfully do little more than gather dust.  Many well known 5* residencies gained their reputation decades ago to still hold their merit or 5* titles. Not so in the Kempinski River Park however. 


Alexandra Coorssen
Chilling on the banks of the Danube like a beacon of hope for the city, the Kempinki boasts 231 rooms which manage to achieve both chic and continental elegance while at the same time a modest and down to earth staff who truly embrace the value of excellent customer service providing the very best care for their guests.

Our tour guide around the hotel, which lasted an incredible two hours was Alexandra Coorssen who works across a number of Kempinski branded hotels within Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. Alexandra gave us a warm welcome and began by illustrating the incredible length and breadth of the hotel. Inside Kempinski Hotel River Park, the main lobby opens out with a stunning array of paintings and artworks coupled with dazzling granite floors. If you look straight down the central wing a spiral staircase winds fabulously up to the next floor.


The hotel owners have an almost obsessive understanding of true luxury, with their attention to detail like nothing we had seen before. The walls are not simply clad in quality papers but they have taken the next step and sought the finest cashmere wall coverings with silk surrounds and Italian leathers in warm shades of sand, gold and autumn reds to give the eye a sense of calm.

A stunning Art lounge bar allows all guests to enjoy a welcome drink – a quenching cocktail of soda, ice, lime, and fresh strawberries. A display of classic instruments sits waiting for the evenings live music, complete with strings, piano, drums and microphone. Before the River Bank Restaurant you can find the Churchill Cigar Club with the finest Cubans in the world and bespoke crafted Italian leather arm chairs to discuss the latest market debates or business deals.
231 rooms and suites offer a refreshing upgrade from your average 5* hotel, with the highest quality pillows, interior furnishings and plasma screens to enjoy a movie or browse the internet. Looking out your expansive patio across the Danube both the old and the new of Bratislava can be appreciated. A listed nature reserve lies over the river which can never be built upon provides you with comfort that this mecca of old and new can still co-exist in harmony. Ageing trees hang peacefully over the bank while the capital’s landmark UFO Restaurant seems to float in the sky beside the nearby suspension bridge.

Each room comes complete with a well stocked mini bar, complimentary water, a selection of wardrobes, desks, tables and chairs to choose from. You can either use blinds, or add curtains to the equation ensuring you get the very deepest sleep and not even the 30 degree sunshine will awake you from your dreams.


The bathroom is yet another treat, complete with towelling robes, body creams, shampoos and soaps. Not only is there a generously sized bath tub in each room but there is also a walk in shower / wet room to allow the utmost comfort and pampering.
Up to the 11th floor and a whole new meaning of relaxation and luxury is awakened within at the hotel’s ZION spa. It offers an infinity pool, a gym which overlooks the Danube and the panoramic beauty of Slovakia’s capital, steam room, ice fountain and a breathtaking range of treatments which leave nothing to be desired.

The complex is only a 15-minute stroll to the Old Town, but its own vibrancy, retail boutiques, kids clubs, and bars attract a diverse crowd of professionals, young families and celebrities.  Once during your stay you even get the opportunity to take the Rolls Royce Phantom Black Edition for a complimentary ride into the Old Town.

Alexandra Coorssen was an exemplary hostess and showed us around the countless conference facilities, meeting rooms and other suites the hotel had to offer. The food in the hotel is also nothing short of Michelin starred. Whether it’s a breakfast of freshly baked pastries and breads coupled with quality preserves, or asking the chef to prepare you an omlette before your eyes the standard of both the food and the staff in the River Bank restaurant is second to none.


Our evening meal was an epic occasion. From delicately flavoured scallops to the finest cut of beef in Europe, not to mention Chateux Petrus wines which quite literally take your breath away, the evening delights are something to treasure. Our wine connoisseur Vladimir presented a fine glass of Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne to start, followed by a 2008 red. His service was superb and he was only too happy to explain the different wines on the menu including their history and quality such as a particular Chateux Petrus, one of the finest wines on the planet, a snip at 7,500 euros.

By far the most epic and memorable room in the hotel is the Presidential Suite. Despite the price tag being out of many peoples reach but this is just a brief look at what they can offer, and because of the simple fact that this is located in Slovakia, and not a top 5 Capital such as Paris or London, a similar suite could cost up to three times as much anywhere else. Well worth splashing out for special occasions such as that decade braking business trip or wedding night honeymoon suite.

Imagine a suite that is made out of the finest materials on earth… Palisander Santos Rosewood floors covered with handmade Indian Carpets, rare Onyx Marble floors combined with seldom Italian Gold tiles & handmade Murano Glass Chandeliers create a soft and relaxing atmosphere for your personal comfort. 

The Kempinski River Park Bratislava is quite simply, the best hotel in Europe. For more information, to book a room or for anything else visit www.kempinski.com



Google celebrates Jorge Luis Borges 112th birthday with Doodle

Users visiting the search engine’s home page are met with a colourful montage appearing to show a maze of “magical realism”.

It shows an ageing man standing in front of a complex scenery including a large library, as he views labyrinths and staircases and “forking paths”.

When the illustration is clicked on it returns search results on the literary giant and poet who is credited with pioneering the science fiction genre.

He was born in Buenos Aires on August 24 1899 and during his early year he was taught at home by his parents before attending school in Geneva, Switzerland.

After returning to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in surrealist literary journals.

Experts believe the influential writer, who honed his literary skills writing yogurt adverts, was ahead of his time with his writings and long before the internet or digital computers were established.

His short stories were connected by common themes including labyrinths, dreams, libraries and fictional writers.

The multi-linguist envisioned “a massive branching structure as a better way to organise data and to represent human experience”.

One of his most well known books was the short story “The Library of Babel,” in which his library is so vast it is constructed of countless hexagonal galleries.

Experts also believe that his other “hypertext” works from the 1940s, such as “Ficciones”, published in 1944, and “The Aleph”, 1949, were some of his best writings. He is also known for Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings,

Many believe he became a myth in his own lifetime for his “mythic riddlings”.

"I am not sure that I exist, actually,” he once said.

“I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities that I have visited, all my ancestors."

Several of his short stories have been turned into feature films, including the 1996 film Death and the Compass.

He died in Geneva aged 86 on June 14 1986 having never won the Nobel Prize in Literature to the fury of his supporters.

"Not granting me the Nobel Prize has become a Scandinavian tradition; since I was born they have not been granting it to me,” he once said.


Fuel inject your senses at Top Gear Live, the Ultimate Motoring Event.

For the first time in the UK, Top Gear Live is developing a pair of indoor tracks in partnership with Group Lotus Motorsport - designers of the original Top Gear test-track.

The cunningly named 'Docklands GP' (ExCeL London) and 'B20 Raceway' (NEC Birmingham) will take centre stage at this year's all-new show. The tracks will feature power laps by Top Gear’s very own tame racing driver The Stig as well as challenges for presenters Clarkson, Hammond and May. And, of course, a host of other celebrities vying for the top spot in Top Gear Live’s very own Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

Join Top Gear favourites Sabine Schmitz, Tiff Needell, Derek Bell and a whole host of other celebrity guests, drivers and presenters at the brand new tracks where you can see a full programme of incredible action.

This year the Live Action Arena is bigger, noisier and more annoying at parties than ever before. The Presenters will be doing their best to direct the general chaos within, whilst desperately avoiding stunt cars howling past at enormous speeds in the dark. The Top Gear Stunt Team will also be joining them and showing off their practiced skills under the ever disapproving visor of their master, The Stig. Never look The Stig in the eye…

The TopGearLive production team is, as usual, keeping the details of the new show a closely guarded secret, but we know they were sourcing inspiration from all over the world during the last hugely successful global tour. Could we see a supercar shaped like the Eiffel Tower, a motorbike ramp mimicking Stonehenge and the Top Gear Live production team recreated as a Chinese Terracotta army?


Probably not… but whatever they have up their collective sleeves will be guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat.
To book tickets and for more information please visit:
www.topgearlive.co.uk/visitor-info/top-gear-live

Special African art, music and networking event being held on Saturday

Music and Life, Birmingham's newest community organisation, will be holding a special African event which aims to celebrate African culture and bring all communities together tomorrow Saturday 20th August.

The event, to be held at The Barn Social Club, will be the first of its kind in the city and will showcase the diverse culture, notably the music and arts of African people. In the spirit of the Big Society, organisers are hoping that both African and non-Africans will be attracted to the event to share in this rich diversity and as a first step towards promoting community cohesion.

In addition to music and arts, there will be African food and local African businesses will be showcasing their work..

The full address of the venue is: The Barn Social Club, Witton, B6 7AJ, Birmingham and the event will be held on 20 August, 2011 starting at 1pm till late. For more information please call 07949 344 600.

Modified Ecstasy holds promise as potent blood cancer treatment

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a modified form of the drug MDMA - commonly known as Ecstasy - which has 100 times more cancer-busting properties than the well known recreational drug, and which they hope may be able to be produced in a safe form to treat patients.

Research results published online this week in the journal Investigational New Drugs show significant success in ‘redesigning the designer drug’ for potential use as a cancer-killing agent in the treatment of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The new work builds on the Birmingham scientists’ discovery six years ago that more than half of the cancers of white blood cells they looked at responded in the test tube to the growth-suppressing properties of psychotropic drugs. These include amphetamine derivatives such as Ecstasy and weight-loss pills, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac).

At the time, the team stressed that translating their laboratory findings into a useable clinical compound would present significant problems, not least because the dose of MDMA required to treat a cancerous tumour would have proved fatal to the patient. They aimed to break down the actions of the drug to isolate its cancer-killing properties from its general toxicity.

Working with researchers from the University of Western Australia who produced the new compounds for them, Birmingham scientists found specially modified forms of Ecstasy boosted their ability to attack and destroy cancerous cells by a factor of 100. Importantly for the future, they believe they understand the mechanism behind this.

Lead author Professor John Gordon, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Immunology and Infection, explains: ‘Together, we were looking at structures of compounds that were more effective. They started to look more lipophilic, that is, they were attracted to the lipids that make up cell walls. This would make them more ‘soapy’ so they would end up getting into the cancer cells more easily and possibly even start dissolving them. By knowing this we can theoretically make even more potent analogues of MDMA and eventually reach a point where we will have in our drug cabinet the most potent form possible.’

He adds: ‘This is an exciting next step towards using a modified form of MDMA to help people suffering from blood cancer. While we would not wish to give people false hope, the results of this research hold the potential for improvement in treatments in years to come.’

The team now hopes to go on to develop pre-clinical studies.

Dr David Grant, Scientific Director of the national charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which part funded the research, comments: “The prospect of being able to target blood cancer with a drug derived from Ecstasy is a genuinely exciting proposition. Many types of lymphoma remain hard to treat and non-toxic drugs which are both effective and have few side effects are desperately needed. Further work is required but this research is a significant step forward indeveloping a potential new cancer drug.”

Culture Sec Jeremy Hunt holds first local TV summit in Birmingham

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to visit Birmingham today (Thursday, August 18) to launch a nationwide roadshow to outline the vision for Government plans to create local television services across the country.

Mr Hunt visits Birmingham City University which is hosting the first of six summits to discuss the issues and benefits of new local TV services which are expected to launch on the digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview by 2015.

Media regulator Ofcom has identified 65 towns and cities in the UK where it is technically possible to launch a local TV service and licences for the first 10 to 20 are expected to be granted next summer. The discussion groups start in Birmingham today and move on to Manchester (tomorrow), Newcastle (24 Aug), Cardiff (26 Aug), Glasgow (9 Sep) and London (14 Sep). A govt consultation on the plans closes on 23 Sep

The Birmingham event will be hosted within the University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment at Millennium Point at Eastside in Birmingham’s city centre.

Eastside will also be home to phase one of the Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus, which is due to open in 2013 and set to deliver “the biggest media studios between London and Salford”. The giant media hub will include TV, radio and photographic studios and will underpin the University’s media courses.

The panel will include Jeremy Hunt, Marc Reeves, editor of Business Desk (West Midlands), Phil Thickett, head of school of media at Birmingham City University, Debra Davis, chief executive of City TV Broadcasting, Peter Davies, director, radio content and broadcasting for Ofcom and Jamie Conway, managing director, Element TV.

The summit will be attended by potential bidders, media and creative companies, civic leaders and MPs, plus representatives from university and colleges.

Joanna Birch, Head of Enterprise Development at Birmingham City University, said "We are widely recognised locally and nationally for our excellence in media education so we are a natural host for the first national summit on local TV.

“Our longstanding partnerships with major broadcasters including BBC, ITV and Sky, as well as our extensive networks and contacts with local media production outlets have already been recognised by Skillset, a national skills organisation that ensures learning meets the real needs of the creative and media industries.

“Our latest work in developing specialist, industry-led training across gaming, TV, radio and digital platforms, along with our multi-million investment to create one of the UK’s biggest and best media education facilities reinforces our long-term commitment to this important sector.”

See things differently with HUGO - Just Different

Summer 2011 marks the launch of a vibrant, unexpected and extraordinary new fragrance for men, HUGO Just Different, the long-awaited follow up to the original and much loved HUGO Man – a global best-selling fragrance icon for the past sixteen years. Embodying an avant-garde, yet confident style, HUGO Fashion delivers progressive looks with a contemporary attitude and its latest fragrance HUGO Just Different embraces this innovative approach with an unconventional, surprising and fresh scent that inspires you to see things differently, through different perspectives.

HUGO Just Different is for the man who takes inspiration from everything around him. His journey is unusual and the route he takes seems random; at every step his movement is fast, energetic, spontaneous. He sees the unexpected and he knows that a receptive mind is the key to his creative success and enrichment. He has the ability to see the world around him differently, he is the catalyst for new experiences, and together with his friends he turns the night upside down and back again.

Acclaimed musician, music video director and film actor, Jared Leto, who has been signed as the face of HUGO Just Different and HUGO Man, aptly personifies this creative and experimental spirit. The epitome of the curious cultural grazer, he is constantly on the look-out for original ideas and experiences from a multitude of sources.

“Inspiration can come from different sources: from a person, from a book, from a night, from an experience, from an encounter. And I certainly find inspiration in all of these things.” Jared Leto

HUGO Just Different – The Fragrance

HUGO Just Different is a reinvention of the classical, fresh, masculine Fougère fragrance type. Taking inspiration from the fundamental contrasts within the metropolitan environment which the HUGO man inhabits, it is characterised by the unexpected fusion of different ingredients, combining fresh coolness with a soft, underlying warmth. HUGO Just Different brings together an innovative blend of notes to produce a surprising new scent that leaves you invigorated, curious and ready to see things differently.

Top Note: A reinvention of the classic aromatic Fougère top note, it drives the freshness of the fragrance with a cool signature built on a complex ‘frozen’ mint accord, and is accentuated by vibrant aromatic notes. The camphoraceous and cooling effect of the mint stimulates the senses, capturing the thrill of life in the modern metropolis.

Heart Note: A surprisingly light and fruity floral character tempered with herbs, the heart accord combines freesia with basil and coriander. This playfully experimental blend accentuates the vibrancy of the scent and creates the unexpected connection between the top and base notes.

Base Note: The woody, ambery base accord features a rich blend of patchouli, cashmeran, oilbanum and labdanum which creates a smooth, rich dry-down with a soft warmth. Contrasted with the coolness of the mint top notes, this creates a juxtaposition which serves as an apt metaphor for the cool steel and glass of the cityscape infused with the underlying warmth and energy of its inhabitants. This completes the scented image of the reinvented Fougère fragrance.

“With HUGO Just Different we wanted to create a fragrance that would capture the concept of ‘seeing things differently’ by offering an unusual twist of a well-known fragrance type. The result is a contemporary interpretation of a classic Fougère fragrance, which delivers a novel olfactory experience that is fresh, green and minty, but also has this unexpected flourish of warmth underneath. It truly turns upside down what you would normally expect from the scent a man might wear on a night out.” Will Andrews, P&G Fragrance Creation Team


Get hair like Katy Perry with ghd

Over the years, fashion weeks held in London, Paris, Milan, New York each celebrate the iconic trends of the seasons with lavish hair styles evoking futuristic queens, ostentatious office girls, or the classic Winehouse bouffant. So how do the world’s leading fashion designers create their powerful and stylish looks? Well you wouldn’t go far wrong in hiring a stylist who understands the benefit of using refined and well thought out salon tools.

The ghd Ceramic Vented Radial Brush is a must have for any mid length to long hair creation that needs extra body and flow. Used mainly in the process of blow drying, the ceramic barrel heats up quickly to speed up the blow dry. A long handle is completed in a black satin finish with a balanced weight for the perfect stroke. The ghd brand has positioned itself well as the luxury hair brand but at an affordable price for most budgets or special gifts.

Another quality product is the ghd Paddle brush, a classic used with mid length to long hair styles. Its broad flat base allows stylists to blow dry large sections of hair smooth and straight.

So too, a good pair of hair straighteners is one of the most useful and flexible tools you will ever own. High quality hair straighteners are not, as the name may suggest, only useful for straightening your hair. As long as the straighteners heat up to the correct temperatures, you can use those such as the classic Gold’s by ghd to style your hair in a variety of different ways.

Straightening your hair is perhaps the simplest style you can achieve, but as catwalk fashion moves increasingly closer to the high street, straighteners like ghd rise to the temperatures needed to break down the hydrogen bonds in your hair that make it curl.

WYATT adapts brand to build UK and European business for AKW

AKW Medicare, the UK’s leader in showering, daily living and kitchen solutions for the elderly, disabled and less able people has a new look to its brand based around the themes of Life, Style and Choice, thanks to PR and marketing agency Wyatt International.

The new identity reflects the heritage and brand values of the organisation as well as its commitment to innovation and customer service and has been incorporated into new website design, literature and social media campaigns.
To coincide with the brand launch, Wyatt PR developed a customer communications campaign called Styleability to reflect AKW’s commitment to offering choice, style and value.

Styleability communicates the message that style and choice does not have to be compromised. People with disabilities should feel safe and comfortable in a home that is styled around their needs and desires. The campaign aims to remove the negative perceptions that some people have of adapted kitchens or bathrooms, and prove that they too can be stylish.

As well as a customer magazine, the campaign also includes social media and PR, with longer term plans for increased online activity and presence and a roll out of activity in Europe.

Karen Bernie, Managing Director at Wyatt said: “We are very excited to be working with a company who are so passionate about giving people the best quality care. The new campaigns are proving to be a success and we are looking forward to helping the company build on this success in the future.”

NatWest announces support for local communities with three £6000 awards up for grabs

NatWest today launches CommunityForce, a new initiative to help local charities, organisations and groups raise publicity of their work and attract volunteers. The programme also provides the opportunity to receive funding through the NatWest CommunityForce awards.

Through the initiative 158 individual CommunityForce areas have been created – one of which is available in Birmingham - offering local projects the chance to win one of three £6,000 awards.

Separate funds have been established in the Solihull and Sutton Coldfield areas.

Organisations and charities can apply for a CommunityForce award at www.natwest.com/communityforce or www.rbs.co.uk/communityforce between 25th July and 4th September 2011. An on-line public vote will then decide which three organisations will receive the awards, ensuring the winners are those that local people feel benefit their community most.

The new CommunityForce initiative will offer organisations more than just financial support. By applying for the awards, charities and projects will become part of a local online network giving them greater visibility and the opportunity to attract volunteers from the local area. NatWest’s people will also be volunteering their time and expertise, and supporting the bank’s commitment to deliver 7000 days of community volunteering in 2011.

Martin French the newly appointed Local Chief Executive Officer for NatWest in Birmingham, said: ‘NatWest has a long and proud history of supporting the community in Birmingham and I’m delighted that one of the first tasks in my new role is to launch CommunityForce locally. It is really important to me that the bank is giving the community the chance to vote for the award winners, ensuring these funds go to the organisations local people value the most.”

Martin added: “CommunityForce is part of our ongoing commitment to support the communities where we live and work; not just by donating funds, but also through volunteering our time and expertise”