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Colmore Tang Construction launches mental health initiatives

Steve Underwood (front left) during last year's DGR (Photo credit_ Bill Paparazzi Photography).jpg

Colmore Tang Construction is committing to the mental health and wellbeing of its staff by launching an initiative that aims to support people in need.

The Birmingham-based contractor has taken action in response to startling statistics that show male construction staff are three times more likely to take their own lives than men not working in the sector.

Findings by the Office of National Statistics revealed that between 2011 and 2015, 13.2% of the 13,232 recorded in-work suicides involved those working in the skilled construction and building trades, even though the sector makes up just over 7% of the UK workforce.

CTC has now signed up to the Construction Industry Helpline, a 24/7 confidential support number for anyone working within the sector and their families. By buying helpline packs, which includes cards for every member of staff, CTC is also helping The Lighthouse Club, a charity that supports construction workers.

Steve Underwood, COO, said the issue of mental health and wellbeing is an important focus area for the business and understands more needs to be done within construction to ensure all of its workers are able to find help and support if they are struggling with any issues.

“As a company, we take the health of our people very seriously and the statistics surrounding male suicide within the construction sector demonstrate that there is still much more to do across the industry to make sure free and confidential support is available when needed,” he said.

“The initiative we are launching is a solid start in our commitment to providing an environment where any member of our community who is experiencing problems in their home or work lives knows there are a number of avenues they can explore.

“We’re starting to see changes in the way that mental health issues are viewed - telling people to ‘man up’ is thankfully no longer acceptable and this will all help to remove the stigma of mental health.”

For the third year running Steve Underwood is taking part in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Tamworth and Lichfield on Sunday, September 30, which aims to raise funds for men’s mental health and prostate cancer charities.

The charity event, which began in 2012, is expected to attract more than 120,000 men in 650 cities worldwide, who will ride classic and vintage motorcycles. Steve will travel through Staffordshire on his 1957 AJS Model 18S bike accompanied by 70 riders on the day.

To support and sponsor Steve, visit gentlemansride.

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Birmingham school students to discuss to future for women in the city

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Students from Birmingham schools are to join a panel of key industry sector experts to discuss how to shape the future for women in the city.

Organised by Birmingham City Council, the ‘Chamberlain Challenge’ event will take place at Highbury Hall, the ancestral home of Birmingham reformer Joseph Chamberlain, on Thursday, September 20, as part of the 100 years celebrations to mark some women being given the vote in parliamentary elections.

Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted’s regional director for the West Midlands, Anna Parker, founding director of Intervention Architecture, and Tracy Westall, non-executive board director for Innovation Birmingham and TechUK will be on the panel.

They will be joined by Dr Debbie Talbot, medical director at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, and Lara Ratnaraja, cultural consultant and programme co-curator for Hello Culture, while Heather Jameson, editor of The MJ - the UK’s most read magazine focusing on the management issues affecting local government - will be hosting the event.

The panel of experts will work with 50 sixth form students from six schools - including Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School, Swanshurst School, Lordswood Girls’ School and Solihull Sixth Form College - to examine how Chamberlain's radical way of thinking could be used today to make Birmingham one of the top 10 places for women to live and work in.

Councillor Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We’ve been marking the the centenary of the female vote and the Suffrage movement since February and now it’s time to reflect on what the next 100 years could be like for women in Birmingham.

“We’ll be challenging the students to think about how career areas such as health, education, technology, transport, architecture and arts could be improved for women and they will be working with our invited panel of inspirational women to come up with a list of radical ideas.

“It’s exciting to have the next generation of adults exploring these topics and offering their opinions as to how Birmingham can be the place they want to make their home and succeed over the next few decades.”

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Innovative cloud-based phone system ticks all the boxes for long-term GDPR compliance

Angela Cutler of Armstrong Bell & Andy Norton of BBE Recruitment

Angela Cutler of Armstrong Bell & Andy Norton of BBE Recruitment

A specialist recruitment agency for the plastics and engineering sectors has its data protection compliance all wrapped up, after installing a brand new cloud-based phone system.

BBE, based near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, has to store telephone calls as part of its standard procedures, but when changes to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) were being introduced earlier this year, the firm realised its processes had to change to comply with the new laws.

“The most important thing for us was making sure we complied with the new GDPR legislation and that meant we needed more flexibility with how we record calls,” explained Andy Norton, Head of Engineering and Technical at BBE.

Experts at Bromsgrove telecom firm Armstrong Bell, of which BBE was already a customer, recommended the agency switch from its existing fixed on-premise system to ‘Venture’, a cloud-based hosted system that automatically gains clients’ permission to record their data.

The system sees front-end calls being answered by an automated system, which tells the caller that the conversation is recorded for GDPR purposes and stores that permission. BBE can timestamp calls on the computer telephony integrated (CTI) system, which makes it admissible in court, if necessary.

The premium IP telephony service works via a highly-resilient platform with multiple redundancy. It has a range of features and benefits, including call park, pick-up and group calls, caller ID and anonymous caller blocking, automatic call back, do not disturb, programmable quick dial numbers, call groups, call and voicemail notification, forwarding by email and SMS, music on hold, and desktop CTI integration.

Venture is also compatible with Groundwire, a third-party app that enables staff to link their mobile phones to the hosted system.

"Our old system did have a call recording feature but it was very basic and outdated,” continued Andy. “Because we were working on a physical server, it meant if the system went down, we would lose the data during that time.”

Angela Cutler, Sales Account Manager for Armstrong Bell, said: “We could have replaced BBE’s existing system with a similar one but it was much more beneficial - both financially and operationally - for them to upgrade to Venture.

“It means the agency is now fully compliant and their system is future-proofed.”

BBE, which manages around 150 calls a day, was able to sign up for an all-inclusive call package, which includes broadband, line rental and voice recording.

“The new system enables us to be more transparent and the management team has better visibility, which in turn means we can manage client expectations better,” said Andy. “Absolutely everything that we do is now backed up so we can move much quicker and know we are fully compliant with the new GDPR legislation.”

Marc Anderson-Boyd, Director at BBE, added: “The first time I met the team from Armstrong Bell I had faith in them. I've spoken with national, larger providers before and found they can be quite pushy in their approach.

“But working with a smaller, independent firm like Armstrong Bell means we know who we are dealing with and equally they know who we are and what our business is about.”


PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Social enterprise to supply recycled products for major construction firm

Craig Reason (CTC), Helen Worrall (Jericho) & Chris Chell (CTC)

Craig Reason (CTC), Helen Worrall (Jericho) & Chris Chell (CTC)

Colmore Tang Construction has strengthened its support of a Birmingham-based social enterprise that provides skills and employment to people by integrating its products and services into its supply chain.

The contractor has ordered 80 recycled wood planters from the Jericho Foundation - worth £30,000 - and plans to install them at Kettleworks, the deluxe Jewellery Quarter development of 292 one- and two-bedroom apartments that Colmore Tang is delivering for Seven Capital. It has also enlisted the charity’s support with waste wood and cardboard collections.

The wood recycling social enterprise is one of eight businesses that the Jericho Foundation operates in Birmingham, a charity that supports local people who experience personal or occupational barriers to employment, giving them the skills and experience needed to gain employment.

CTC consolidated its support for the enterprise, following a fundraiser it held for the charity earlier this summer, when it raised £2,570 at its first annual conference at Park Regis hotel in Birmingham.

Steve Underwood, COO of Colmore Tang, said: “We are extremely pleased in the way the partnership has developed in just two months. In that time we have not only raised vital funds that have been directed towards Jericho’s work supporting victims of modern slavery in the region, but we are now integrating them into our supply chain.

“It’s not always about just donating your profits but rather it’s about how you make them in the first place. Utilising Jericho’s wood recycling social enterprise demonstrates our commitment to bettering our community and we are able to not only showcase their products on our developments, but also support those who are in training whilst learning key skills.

“We are able to do this because the products are of a high standard and perfectly complement our high-quality developments. We look forward to further developing our partnership with Jericho on a wider range of services on our new projects.”

By integrating Jericho into its supply chain, CTC has already delivered 100 days worth of employment for the charity’s four apprentices, supporting their development as they progress through their Level 2 and 3 qualifications. It has also enabled the charity to purchase new circular saws for its woodshop and has increased the revenue of the enterprise by over £30,000.

Richard Beard, CEO of the Jericho Foundation, said: “We are thrilled that Colmore Tang has added us to its supply chain and that it has asked us to provide 80 planters for its Kettleworks development. It demonstrates that our trainees and staff produce work of exceptional quality that is suitable for prestige developments - everyone who works at the wood recycling social enterprise is proud to be part of this exciting development

“Working on a large-scale project marks a step change for the workshop; it has allowed us to enhance and develop our operational processes so we can secure more large projects like this in the future.

“Colmore Tang’s support will help to safeguard the work we do in providing people with the skills and training they need in the workplace.”

A central role for the charity is helping survivors of modern slavery, providing them with real work experience and on-the-job training. Its mentors and job coaches offer personal support, guidance and training to enable them become fulfilled, skilled and employed.

Labour exploitation is the most recorded type of modern slavery with the construction sector accounting for approximately 10% of total employment in the UK.

It is estimated that there are over 13,000 individuals who are currently in modern slavery, and that Birmingham and the West Midlands has the highest concentration of survivors, outside of London.

For more information about the Jericho Foundation visit www.jericho.org.uk

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Conference Aston goes local with low emissions ahead of the Clean Air Zone

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Conference Aston in Birmingham has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, as the city prepares for the introduction of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

The venue, which is part of Aston University and the city centre’s largest residential conferencing venue, is taking to the road as quietly as possible with the use of Aston University’s electric vehicle, which will comply with the clean air standards.

Anticipating the need to meet tougher environmental targets, Conference Aston’s business development and sales team use the campus BMW i3; an electric car that was acquired for local journeys - and it has already saved the environment from 2,794 grams of CO2.

“We have a number of meetings across the city every month, so having access to an electric vehicle has enabled us to be visibly greener in how we operate and is proving to be an investment that will certainly pay off when the city council introduces the CAZ in a couple of years’ time,” said Paul Bunce, Commercial Manager for Conference Aston.

“As an academic venue we benefit greatly from our partnership with Aston University and this is a prime example of how that partnership enables us to operate more considerately.

“Conference Aston takes sustainability very seriously and that has been evident in it being awarded the TripAdvisor gold GreenLeader award for its commitment to environmentally-friendly practices.”

The venue achieved the GreenLeader award after satisfying TripAdvisor, the travel review company, that it works consistently to reduce its carbon footprint, to introduce greener facilities and to cut waste.

As part of the exacting process, Conference Aston had to complete a comprehensive survey that focused on energy- and water-saving practices; waste processes; purchasing processes; the site; and innovation and education.

Aston University’s electric car can be booked by any member of staff at the university and because it can cover 40 miles per trip, it is ideal for inner city and local trips.

For more information about Conference Aston, visit www.conferenceaston.co.uk.

Public Relations by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Twins to revitalise The Boathouse restaurant in Sutton Coldfield

L-R: Fran O’Meara & Laurence O’Meara (former owners of The Boathouse) with Scott Lewis & Steven Lewis (new owners of The Bracebridge)

L-R: Fran O’Meara & Laurence O’Meara (former owners of The Boathouse) with Scott Lewis & Steven Lewis (new owners of The Bracebridge)

Twin brothers from Sutton Coldfield who trained under Michelin star chefs are to breathe new life into a landmark local restaurant.

Scott and Steven Lewis, having worked for many years in some of London’s top restaurants including Quaglinos, La Tante Claire and the The Halkin Hotel, are revitalising The Boathouse restaurant in Sutton Park.

The pair, who trained under Michel Roux Jr at infamous Le Gavroche after studying at the Birmingham College of Food (now UCB), say it’s a dream come true to take the helm of the restaurant, which will be renamed The Bracebridge when it opens its doors in November.

Having spent 15 years heading up a company that supplied ingredients to the restaurant and catering sector, the brothers never lost their ambition to open their own restaurant.

“We’re very excited to be handed the keys to the restaurant,” said Scott, who lives in Sutton Coldfield.

“It’s a much-loved local institution that has been successfully run by Laurence and Fran O’Meara for almost 30 years, so we feel a huge responsibility in taking it on. It’s long been a dream of ours to open our own restaurant and we feel so proud that we’ve acquired this restaurant in such breathtaking surroundings.”

When it opens, The Bracebridge will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, with finer dining a key element of the evening service. There will also be a separate, more casual menu for the terrace.

“We’ll offer a varied menu, with dishes influenced by our travels, and aim to create a relaxed and chic restaurant that focuses on quality food, using first-class ingredients, for an accessible price,” said Scott.

“The next few months will be exceptionally busy as we create the menus, look for the right staff and prepare for the opening of the restaurant. We’re looking forward to welcoming diners who enjoyed The Boathouse and to attracting new customers who have a love of exceptional food in a perfect and unique location.”

Scott and Steven hope to create up to 30 new jobs - including eight full-time chefs.

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Quattro Group invests in the future as it orders IVECO’s greener Eurocargo trucks

A leading national plant specialist firm has taken delivery of 10 IVECO trucks from Guest Truck and Van to ensure its road sweepers meet new stringent environmental standards.

The Quattro Group, whose headquarters are in London, invested £1.5m in 10 150E22 RSW Eurocargo Euro VI-compliant trucks, which have each been fitted with a Johnson road sweeper chassis, as part of a rolling programme to replace its Euro IV trucks.

The 220hp 15-tonne Eurocargo model has a 12-speed automatic gearbox and runs on IVECO HI-SCR technology for non-stop performance, while no active regeneration is required, which means no enforced stops.

Bal Singh, Key Account Director at Guest Truck and Van, said the IVECO HI-SCR system is the only Euro VI technology that reduces fuel consumption by 4.3% compared with Euro V, as certified by TÜV, and significantly reduces maintenance costs.

Dubbed ‘the truck the city likes’, IVECO’s Eurocargo passive-only DPF regeneration guarantees a very low particulate emission level. It also has the longest maintenance intervals on the market, which helps to keep the vehicles on the road for longer.

“Quattro was looking to replace its existing fleet to meet the stricter environmental standards and the Eurocargo was the obvious choice,” said Bal.

“The model offers unparalleled efficiency in urban areas and is extremely economical to run, making it an ideal choice for operations such as road sweeping. We’re looking forward to maintaining our relationship with the Quattro Group.”

A spokesman for The Quattro Group said: “We have ordered IVECO trucks a few times before and are a preferred brand for our sweepers. We have a large fleet and we need to ensure we keep up to date to stay in line with new governmental policies, such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London.

“Investing and updating the fleet to ensure that Quattro’s Environmental services continues to run smoothly and effectively for our customers is paramount, while aftercare is also very important to us and we’ve been impressed with Guest Truck and Van’s customer service.”

Established in West Bromwich more than 100 years ago, Guest Truck and Van is a family-run business that has gone on to become the UK’s largest IVECO commercial vehicle dealer group and is also one of the largest Fiat Professional dealers.

In 2010 the company bought new sites in the east of the UK, followed by the acquisition of Sherwood Truck and Van in 2011.

As well as offering new and used vehicle sales, the group also has three body shops and a tyre and auto centre plus a vehicle lining operation and fleet management service; Sentinel - all of which are available for any vehicle make or model.

For more information visit www.guesttruckandvan.co.uk

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Park Regis partners with Five Rivers for specialist Asian events

Shamim Hm, Group Director of Five Rivers & Mark Payne, GM of Park Regis Birmingham pic 1.jpg

Park Regis has signed an exclusive city centre hotel partnership with award-winning hospitality company Five Rivers to provide specialist catering services for Asian weddings and events.

It comes just weeks after the four-star deluxe Park Regis unveiled its £850,000 conference and events space on the 16th floor, which boasts 360° views across the city.

The elegant events space, which stretches over 5,250 sq ft and has floor-to-ceiling windows, can accommodate lavish celebrations, weddings and events for up to 400 people, and the affiliation with the catering and hospitality specialist means Park Regis will be the only city centre hotel to offer authentic Indian food.

Mark Payne, General Manager, said: “We are very excited to partner with Five Rivers, which provides exquisite, gourmet Asian catering for large-scale events. We’re incredibly proud of our new events space on Level 16 and working with Five Rivers will provide us with the opportunity to position Park Regis as the premium venue in the heart of the city for specialist weddings and events.”

Shamim HM, Group Director at Walsall-based Five Rivers, said it aimed to raise the bar of specialist Asian events in Birmingham city centre.

“We are proud to have been chosen by Park Regis Birmingham to partner them in marketing and delivering specialist Asian events in this truly unique space,” she said.

“This really is an extraordinary events space, with inspiring views of the city; there is no other venue of its kind to host such an intimate and special occasion.

“We are renowned for providing exceptional cuisine together with flawless hospitality, a vision we share closely with the management of Park Regis. Those who choose to host their celebrations at Level 16 of Park Regis, can be rest assured that they will be in the trusted hands of the hospitality industry’s finest exponents.”

Guests attending an event on Level 16 can enjoy their own dedicated ground-floor entrance, enabling them to check in and drop off bags, if they are staying overnight, before going straight to their event.

For more information about Park Regis Birmingham, visit: www.parkregisbirmingham.co.uk and for details about Five Rivers visit www.fiveriversoutdoor.co.uk.

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

 

 

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Dyslexic students overcome the new GCSE challenge with 100% pass rate

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Students at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School in Lichfield have risen to the challenge of the new GCSE structure, with all pupils achieving at least eight GCSEs, including English and maths.

School leavers at the acclaimed Staffordshire school have more cause to celebrate than most, as many of them enter Maple Hayes without being able to read and write.

In total this year, 100% of pupils secured eight or more GCSEs, with 44% of them achieving at least a grade 4 (a standard pass that is equivalent to a C) in English - the subject that has proven to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks throughout their academic career.

50% of Year 11 pupils conquered maths with grade 4 or higher, while two pupils at the school achieved the highest possible grade - grade 9 (equivalent to an A*) - for their art and design GCSE.

“We are delighted with this year’s GCSE results, especially considering how much more difficult the new examination system is for dyslexic students,” said Dr Daryl Brown, Headteacher at Maple Hayes. “There is more subject content to learn, more examination papers, longer examinations and a requirement in many subjects for extended answers which have a higher literacy requirement.

“We are incredibly proud of the pupils’ successes and would like to congratulate all of our Year 11 students, as well as the parents and teaching staff, for their achievements.

“We wish every student the best of luck as they embark on their next academic chapter.”

This year’s GCSE success follows on from the school’s ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report in November 2017, in which it was praised for its unique approach to teaching and the staff’s commitment to making sure pupils thrive regardless of learning ability.

Maple Hayes was founded by Dr Neville Brown, the school principal, who today works closely alongside his son, and headteacher, Dr Daryl Brown.

Together, the doctors have created a unique approach to teaching literacy called the ‘morphological approach’, using icons to make a visual link between meaning and spelling instead of pupils being taught using phonics.

Year on year, Maple Hayes beats the odds with competitive GCSE results. Alumni have gone on to study at college and university - with some going on to gain PhDs.

PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham

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Reeves PR teams up with Birmingham Dogs’ Home with a pawfect rehoming campaign

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Ready for your close up? Stray dogs at Birmingham Dogs’ Home are celebrating National Dog Day this Sunday with new photographs to help find their furever homes, thanks to city-based Reeves PR.

The Colmore Row PR company is strengthening its relationship with the charity by donating its team of photographers and digital experts to capture the dogs on camera and film for its website.

Clive Reeves, founder and managing director of Reeves, said: “We’re huge fans of Birmingham Dogs’ Home, which does amazing work in helping to rehome dogs, and we were keen to help the charity beyond our annual donation in lieu of corporate Christmas cards and gifts during the holiday season.

“After talking to the staff there, we realised that the best way to support them was to donate our time by getting our team of professionals to photograph and film some of the dogs that are awaiting adoption, capturing their unique personalities and telling their stories.

“We’ll also be visiting regularly to photograph any new dogs in the hope that it helps them to be adopted and we’ll provide regular updates on their rehoming journeys.”

Rachel Frost, of Birmingham Dogs’ Home, said: “We are thrilled that the Reeves PR team is continuing to help us in our efforts to get our strays rehomed and hope that by having better images and films of the dogs that really show off their playful and caring sides, will pull at the heartstrings of would-be adopters.

“Last year we rescued 2,700 dogs and were able to successfully rehome over 1,500, many of which are still with us looking for their loving homes. We couldn't survive as a charity without the help of our fantastic supporters. It costs over £2.1 million each year to run our centre, which is why we are launching our very own ‘Great Birmingham Bark Off’, encouraging all Birmingham dog lovers across the Midlands and beyond to raise funds for our furry friends, and have lots of fun so we can continue helping stray dogs in need”

 

PR by Reeves PR in Birmingham 

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