Saturday, 26 December 2020

New book of heritage memories due out in January 2021

A book of memories from life in the West Midlands is due to be published in the new year by Brewin Books and Age Concern Birmingham. The book is packed with anecdotes, pictures, poems and memories from older people, reflecting life in the area from the 1920s, through the war years and right up to the present day.

The book has been funded by the Heritage Fund and edited by Peter Millington on behalf of Age Concern Birmingham. The book was created from a heritage project during 2020, the year of Covid-19. It has a foreword written by Lady Anne Knowles who said:

"It is with great pleasure that I write the foreword for this wonderful book of memories from local people in the West Midlands. In the months leading up to publication, these have been difficult times for everybody but not least of all for the older generation. Having been identified as one of the most vulnerable groups to the Covid-19 virus many of us have spent our days, weeks and months shielded, distanced and isolated, destined to talk to our neighbours through half-opened windows and our loved ones via Zoom and WhatsApp. 

Who could have foretold this situation just twelve months ago?

But in the spirit of supporting and valuing the older members of our community, Age Concern Birmingham spent the past year reaching out to collect these delightful stories from local people and to produce this book of memories. As we read through this rich diversity of recollections, one of the common threads is the theme of resilience, it is easy to forget that the older generation have been on their own life-journeys of aspiration and achievement in spite of very different though nonetheless great challenges.

I hope you will enjoy these stories, poems, pictures and memories, but also be inspired by the lives, the humour, the humanity and the determination of the older generation."

Watch this space for updates about the publication of "I remember when... West Midlands Heritage Memories collected by Age Concern Birmingham".

Ikon for Artists - Open Call

Ikon announces an Open Call. Birmingham-based artists are invited to submit one artwork with a value of up to £1,000 for Ikon for Artists, an exhibition in 2021. Exhibiting artists will receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their work.

Ikon for Artists seeks to support local artists whose income has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Submissions open: 10am, Monday 14 December 2020

Submissions close: 6pm, Friday 15 January 2021

Complete applications that fulfil the submission guidelines are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Find Out More

£17.9m boost to regenerate Worcester’s city centre

A major regeneration of Worcester’s city centre is set to go ahead, after a bid by the City Council secured £17.9 million.

The investment has been awarded from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, with the announcement made today (26 December 2020) by Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

The £17.9m boost will bring about a transformation of the northern end of the city centre, and will see the re-opening of a restored Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange and the creation of new homes for first time buyers.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of the City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Worcester and is evidence of the Government’s promise to invest in communities. Our high street needs a boost at this point and I believe this funding can make a real difference.”

Deputy Leader Cllr Adrian Gregson said: “This is really great news and will revitalise a big part of the city centre. It will be exciting for residents and brilliant for visitors. I want to give my thanks to the team that put this strong and successful bid together.”

The £17.9m investment will be pumped into the area from The Cross up to Foregate Street train station, taking in Broad Street, Angel Place, The Trinity and Queen Street.

The area is home to the Angel Place market, Friary Walk shopping centre, and the bus station. It also hosts the former Scala Theatre (closed as an entertainment venue in 1973) and the Victorian Corn Exchange on the corner of Angel Place and Angel Street, the former Colmore Depot in Angel Street (last used as a Co-op supermarket and currently empty) and Trinity House.

The area currently has a high proportion of empty shops, a poor quality street environment and is sometimes a focus for anti-social behaviour.

The funding from the Future High Streets Fund will restore its one-time status as an active, vibrant part of the city. Over the next five years it will be regenerated to create a diverse leisure, residential and cultural offer with new jobs being created and fresh life breathed back into its historic buildings.

Worcester City Council prepared and submitted the successful bid to the Future High Streets Fund, with support from Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire LEP, the Crown Estate (owners of Crowngate Shoppping Centre), the University of Worcester, Worcester BID, the owners of Trinity House, market operator LSD Promotions and others.

The bid was developed in line with the Council’s City Plan and the City Centre Masterplan.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Sector/COVID-19 Funding


Sector/COVID-19 Funding 

Local Connections Fund
A new fund to help charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities.

National Lottery Community Fund
Fund reopened applications for some of its regular funding programmes for England. These are: National Lottery Awards for All; Reaching Communities; and Partnerships

The Brum Recovery Micro Fund
Set up with funding from Birmingham City Council and is aimed at unconstituted and grassroots community groups in the city. The second round is in January with a deadline of 20 January 2021.

Community Initiatives Fund
Funding for Grassroots organisations to enable them to provide pandemic-recovery related support and provide activity which has a focus on mental health, re-establishing confidence in emerging from lockdown or diversionary activities that are on-line or socially distanced. Deadline 31st March 2021.

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants
£78m fund focusing on smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners Non-COVID funding. Deadline April 2021
Austin & Hope Pilkington
Focus on different priorities every year, including funding projects supporting the Homeless, Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Grants between £1000 - £5000

Birmingham Sports Fund
Grants of up to £1,000 for projects that develop sports participation or support emerging talented sports people. In particular, the fund aims to support projects encouraging participation from disadvantaged communities; BAME communities; women and girls; and disabled people.

Fat Beehive Foundation 
UK charities can apply for funding of up to £2,500 to help them improve their online digital presence. The Fat Beehive Foundation awards small grants to charities with an average income of less than £1 million a year to support hard-to-fund digital expenditure that other funders will often not cover.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Spot and stop fraudsters

A poster advertising a new action line to protect people from fraud.

Call 0300 123 2020

Or use the online fraud reporting tool at 

Money Wise Workshops

A FREE training package being delivered remotely on a 1-2-1 basis to meet individual needs in this time of social exclusion/isolation.

We have a training package that can be completed in isolation in a client's own home using their IT equipment or phone via internet or calls. People can gain up to date relevant information to enable them to cope with the barriers they may face after this virus has ceased. 

The course programme consists of 6 friendly, interactive workshops and activities lasting 1 hour and can cover the following topics to increase your financial confidence.

How to make the most of your money including 

Help to switch utility providers
Smart shopping
Using comparison websites

Long term and short term planning and budgeting

Help with household bills
Pensions and saving for the future

How IT can help you budget

Budgeting advice
Microsoft and Excel

Benefit entitlement

Benefit checks

How to borrow money safely

Understanding and preventing fraud
How to borrow money responsibly

To find out more contact Robert Chattin, telephone m: 07909331241.


Start Your Family Tree: Week 1 from Who Do You Think You Are?

Beat coronavirus boredom with these step-by-step instructions on starting your family tree from our editor Sarah Williams. This week: how to begin

It’s week two of lockdown and many of us are looking for meaningful activities beyond sharing humorous YouTube clips and singing with Gareth Malone.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of WDYTYA? and wondered whether your family’s past contains similarly interesting stories (spoiler alert, it probably does), then why not make the most of this enforced seclusion and see what you can discover.

The great thing about genealogy in these difficult times is that, unlike scuba diving, kite flying or any other hobby you had planned to take up but now can’t, it is 90% an online activity. And with archives and most libraries currently closed, we’re going to put together a weekly guide to researching your family history that is 100% online.

A fun way to start is to just type information you already have straight into a family tree. There are a few online family tree builders out there but for the purposes of this blog I’m going to use the one on Ancestry. You’re not committed to sticking to the family tree software you choose at first. Most family tree builders let you export your data into a file format (.ged) that is recognised by other sites or software, so you can move your tree around if you want.

So for now, head to Ancestry. The homepage will encourage you to sign up for a free trial, but there is no need to do that yet. One of the great things about Ancestry is that you can start building your tree on the website with a free account. Click on ‘Sign in’ and then select ‘Sign up today for free’. This will give you a basic account to start building your tree for free.
Once you have an account, check that the privacy settings suit you. By default, any work you do on your tree can be used to match your tree to others. This can be extremely useful and may help you grow your tree more quickly but it doesn’t suit everyone. If you are uncertain, start with more stringent privacy settings and you can always relax them later. Ancestry automatically keeps any details about living people on your family tree private regardless of which privacy setting you choose.

The tree builder is fairly intuitive and for this first week what you will be doing is gathering together all the information you know already or can get from family members before you start looking at official records.

Start by filling in all the details you know about yourself and your parents (add kids and spouse if applicable). The site will guide you through the process.

Filling in a family tree can really bring home to you how little (or much) you might know about your family. Once you realise you are uncertain about when your parents married and you thought you grandmother was just called Nana, it’s time to reach out to your family.

If you are lucky enough to have parents (or even better, grandparents) who are still around to share their family knowledge then this is the best place to start. Add family history as a topic for your video calls (honestly, they will be relieved to have you asking questions about their grandparents rather than asking them for the umpteenth time if they have enough eggs).

It’s not just parents who may have the information you need. Try aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings. Announce on Facebook that you are researching your family history. Spread the word. You may find a relative has already done some of the legwork or you may find one of your siblings wants to help you. Having a ‘research buddy’ can be a great way to share costs and keep motivation up.

See how much of your tree you can fill in just using the information that your family shares with you. If anyone gives you uncertain information along the lines of “I think he was born in Portsmouth”, “I think she died in 1979”, it’s still worth recording on your family tree, just make sure you put a question mark next to the information. This is all stuff we can sort out next week when we start to dig into the actual historical documents.

Until then, talk to your family, stay safe and happy hunting!

Take it further

Join us on Facebook and Twitter where we will be answering any questions you have about your family history and offering you support to help grow your tree.


Funded by Heritage Fund

A project of Age Concern Birmingham

For millions of older people in the UK the current health crisis, caused by the Covid-19 virus, is creating feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation. Keeping safe and well means staying indoors and minimising contact with neighbours, carers and loved ones.
But avoiding close contact with other people doesn’t mean that you have to be bored or feel forgotten. As people get older they often say things like “it’s about time I wrote down my life story” or their children and grandchildren will say “if only Nan, Granny or Granddad would record their precious memories”. But most of us reach older age without finding the time to commit pen to paper or to sit down at the computer keyboard and simply type away.
You may have fascinating recollections of your school days, your armed service, employment, sport, family life or historic events and younger generations are always interested to learn what life was like 60, 70 or 80 years ago and to hear those personal stories, the sad ones alongside the happy ones.     
At Age Concern Birmingham (ACB) we are running a memory based project which is funded by the Heritage Fund. We are collecting memories and stories from older people in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, many of which will be included in a book to be published later this year or published on our blog.
Because of the Covid-19 crisis we have had to postpone our events and face-to-face interviews with local people. So we’re looking at delivering our project another way. We don’t want to stop our project when we know that there are thousands of older people in the city sitting at home feeling bored and isolated but who could still contribute stories.
Please join in with our memory writing-and-recording project today. Whether you start off with a few bullet-points or dive straight into your memoirs, write it, type it, tape it or dictate it, dig out your old documents and photographs for scanning, we welcome it all for our project!
Please send your memories to the email address below or contact us for more information on how to join in:
Send your memories to Peter Millington at Age Concern Birmingham, 76-78 Boldmere Road, Birmingham B73 5TJ.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

West Bromwich Voices - Childhood days

Here's a great conversation amongst older people from West Bromwich talking about their childhood days during the war years. The conversation was recorded by Ray Gormley and Pete Millington in around 2009 with local West Bromwich historian Anne Wilkins.

Pete is now editing a book of local memories on behalf of Age Concern Birmingham with funding from The Lottery Fund. If you would like to contribute your memories to the project, please contact me on   

Thank you to Alice Millington for transcribing the interview.

West Bromwich Voices

Childhood days

Our stomping ground, or playground, whatever, was the rec’. Because you’ve got all the football pitches that you wanted on there. Play cricket, or in the summer, do whatever you wanted. And of course, they had got, over by the canal basin, they had got swings and slides and whatever. I know a few times people, like myself, have ended up in the canal basin, especially in the winter when we thought the ice was thick enough to stand your weight, and of course it wasn’t, it just collapsed. 

And I know, the one time, I was at school when it happened and we’d gone over there one lunchtime and, of course, I came back and my trousers was all wringing wet. And of course there was no parents at home then because they were both at work and you just had to just dry off at the school. They didn’t give you anything else to help you or anything like that.

I mean, we used to get bean cans, knock holes in and get burnin’ hot coke. Fire cans – whizz them round and had a competition to see who could make theirs glow the best. Oh, and then leapfrog. We used to play leapfrog, didn’t we?

I’m trying to think…what was the name of that?


With the broom handle under your arm to give you balance.

Diablo, as well. And whip and top.

Oh, yes! Whip and top! These shops nowadays, they sell all these old games, don’t they? 
The National Trust Shops.


But nobody knows how to play.

Well, I bought a whip and top because I used to be quite a dab-hand at that. And I bought it, I’m going back perhaps four or five years, and d’ya know I couldn’t even get it to spin!

And of course, you had the Boys’ Scouts if your parents would give you the money to join then. There was the one up the back of Westley and Churchill.

And the Boys’ Brigade. There was a Church Hall where West Bromwich Building Society main office is standing now.

That was a Baptist Church.

The Boys’ Brigade were a Baptist organisation. I think you’ll find that the Scouts were a Church of England sort of act, and I suppose the Baptists thought they’d got to have something (so they) started the Boys’ Brigade.

We used to have a lad in our street and he used to…he’d always got a ruler about that long. 
And he’d go on, flicking them, and he’d flick them and they’d go over the houses. These bottle tops.

It was another street game, you see.

That’s right, yeah.

Nobody seemed to bother us, then, in those days. Your parents just said “Well, where have you been ‘til now?” and it’s “Ah, we’ve been playing, mom.”

The area called the Mill, near Albion gas works, which mainly got its name from the mill pond which was still there but was surrounded by slag heaps. The most prominent thing about those banks were, underground, it was just one massive fire, and you had to be careful. You could see the flames coming through and the smoke. You had to be careful that you didn’t step on those because you sank in. And people used to collect horse manure for the gardens. The ponies which were tied up there and roamed around never seemed to get burned, which was a miracle. But I remember two children from the area were sent over to collect horse manure, and the girl sank in up to her waist and her brother endeavored to get her out and he was burned.

To the side of the canal there, opposite The Boat pub which has been demolished now, there was some waste ground and we went over there one day, me and a couple more. And we found this little parcel tucked in this long grass. We opened it up, and it was rashers of bacon! “What are we gonna do with this”, you know?

Talking about the police, we knew it was illegal, we’d got all these rashers of bacon. What was we gonna do with it? Well, somebody from the canteen of the Nelson Smelting Works had put it there to pick up at night when they come out. Right, so what did we do? We was afraid to take it home in case we had a good hiding off our parents. We threw it in the cut. So, I says, I says to my mother and dad, “hey, mom” I says “we found this parcel of bacon”. My dad says “what?” I says “yeah, somebody had wrapped it up” I says “by the side of the Nelson factory, and hid it.” He says, “well where is it?” I says “we throwed it in the cut!”

And I bet you got a good hiding for saying that?

He says “you what?” I mean, rashers of bacon which he never saw. I mean, I think you was entitled to one rasher a month, per person, and that was about as big as that envelope and that was about your rations for a month. And we was afraid of the police having us, stopping us with this parcel of bacon and we go into a remand home, you see. And that’s what we thought of. We never give it a thought to stuck it down our trousers and took it home to eat.

They were very strict.

Oh yes.

If you did get caught and people did round by us. In our road, in Stour Street, it branched off into a little road called Collins Street and there, that was the same sort of houses. But, this chap’s mother died and there was five of them and in the war, his father was a special constable and he married this woman who’d got 7 children as well. So, in a little three-bedroomed house there were fourteen of them. Joey, he ran away from home and he lived rough in a derelict house for a week ‘til they found him. But I think they did have him for what today is called shoplifting, but would be called thieving then. And you went to court and he had…I forget how many lashes of the birch rod he had. He certainly had ten, I think. And he was sent away to the North East on a, what they used to call, a remand home, but this was on a ship, it was on a remand ship and he would be about ten at the time. We never saw him again. He remained on this ship until he was eighteen, and they released him then to go in the army. When he came home on leave from the army, he did come home to see his parents. But that’s how strict they were at the time.

And what year would that be then?

That was in the war time… that was in the war years. It would be about ’43 I think.

You were afraid of the police. Stories like I’ve just told you were always quoted by your parents to make you afraid.

But your parents knew the local bobby, didn’t they? I lived on the ‘rec on the Avenue. The family’s home I spoke of, was on Oak Road, they lived in that house from 1908 or something like that so it was…up to, well it’s still standing actually, but 1970 that last one came out of there. But I always used to go up there and the local bobby round there was Mr Bullus and I went to school with his son. He always used to see me, he would be on his pushbike. You’d not done anything wrong or you’d not been playing up and they’d happen to see you coming up. You used to creak in your own shoes, like you know, because you were frightened in case your mother and father were gonna say anything to him anyway…even though they might just say “Alright, Bill?”

You stood there as though you had done something wrong.

The same really with the betting. Why they never actually collared anybody, they all knew it went on. I always used to take bets when I was staying in Oak Road, to Mason’s in Bowater Street. And yet the local Bobby, I mean, I say he knew what he was doing. I don’t think I ever knew Mason being had up for doing illegal betting and yet he must have been doing it for years. All the family knew him, and what have you, and you know?

I think, mainly, they had the runners.

Well, they did, yes. But, I say, I mean even they never got collared unless perhaps it was the local bobby which they were in with in them days, they’d say, just keep an eye on it, you know, cut it down a bit. They used to just do it like ‘I’ll keep out of the limelight for a bit’, and then they’d carry on. It was the same if you’d got caught, wasn’t it? If you’d done any scrumping…if the police was ever brought round to your house, it was just a warning. No over the top or anything like that about it. “Look, we’re warning you. Cut it out.” And, of course, you did.

In other words, they used common sense then, which has gone out of the window.

That’s correct.

Lives in Music: Roy Williams - from an extraordinary 70s club to making extraordinary things happen

Photo credit: Suzy Gallier
Another great audio trip down the memory lane of West Midlands music heritage with Robin Valk. In this edition of Lives in Music Robin chats to Roy Williams, an understated music icon from Sedgley in the Black Country. A co-founder of the legendary JBs live music venue in Dudley, the associations are fascinating. Little Acre, Chicken Shack, UB40, Dexys, Weapon of Peace, teenage mates with Robert Plant, getting close with Van the Man, The Cure, Seasick Steve, Roland Gift, The Alternative Dubstep Orchestra, poet Liz Berry ....the list of associations is pretty damned comprehensive. Mixing, managing, networking... 

Robin introduces the podcast:   

In this edition I'm talking with an extraordinary, super-capable, veteran music pro from the Black Country of the UK, who has, quietly, had a massive influence on music making in this neck of the woods and far, far beyond. Roy was one of the team that launched the legendary JBs in Dudley, where anybody who was anybody simply had to play. Then he went on to managing, sound mixing, often for a lifetime friend, Robert Plant. and just doing an awful lot for an awful lot of people, simply because it was the right thing to do. But it's the sidelines that make this conversation so interesting - the by ways, the diversions, and the way he frequently drops hints and prompts about interesting music areas. And, of course, the stories.

To learn more about the music, or the musicians mentioned in this podcast, head to the companion blog post. 'A Life in Music: Roy Williams', which you can find at Everything that Roy touches on is linked there so you can explore to your hearts content.

The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. They all have stories. Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production.

The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'. 

Listen to the podcast here

Worcester Moments - Religion: The dissolution of the monasteries and the effect on the religious life of Worcester - Programme 1

Andrew Reekes

In this programme, Andrew explains how the Dissolution of the monastaries at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell had a profound impact on the religious life of the city and the welfare of its residents and led directly to the foundation of the Kings School. He talks to the publisher of History West Midlands, Mike Gibbs.

Listen to the podcast here

Monday, 23 March 2020



A Leeds Playhouse production in co-production with Ramps on the Moon

4* The Stage
‘Disabled people are still woefully under-represented in the arts, but Amy Leach’s production offers an entertaining, embracive, necessary corrective’

A brand-new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist comes to Birmingham Repertory Theatre from Wednesday 29 April – Saturday 9 May 2020 as part of a national tour.

This bold, brutal and beautiful new version of Oliver Twist sends audiences on a dark adventure through the twisted streets of London. Adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery, every performance of Oliver Twist will feature the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.

Born into poverty and misfortune, Oliver Twist escapes the workhouse for a life of adventure where he joins Artful Dodger, Fagin and their mischievous gang of pick pockets. But the enjoyment is short lived as he falls under the influence of the vicious Bill Sikes.

The REP is part of Ramps on the Moon a consortium of seven major UK theatres, plus partner company Graeae, committed to putting D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. Each year, one consortium organisation becomes the lead producing partner creating a large-scale new production which champions diversity both on and off stage. Previous Ramps on the Moon productions include Our Country’s Good, The Who’s Tommy and The Government Inspector.
Integrating disabled and non-disabled performers and practitioners, this programme aims to achieve a step change in the employment and artistic opportunities for disabled performers and creative teams, and a cultural change in the participating organisations to enable accessibility to become a central part of their thinking and aesthetics.

Oliver Twist is directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach (The Night Before Christmas, Hamlet, Road, Romeo & Juliet). It stars Brooklyn Melvin in the role of Oliver, aided and abetted by a gang of wily pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger, played by Nadeem Islam, who is best known for presenting the BBC’s See Hear series, and Caroline Parker MBE as Fagin (Our Country’s Good, Ramps on the Moon and Nottingham Playhouse UK Tour).

Director Amy Leach comments “Oliver Twist is a vivid, dark and visceral story and I am so excited to explore how adding artistic layers of creative sign language, audio description and captioning can enhance the story-telling for all audience members. Oliver Twist gives the integrated ensemble cast of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors the opportunity to play a brilliantly varied range of characters and showcase a wide range of talents.”

Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. Recommended age 11+

OLIVER TWIST runs at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from Wednesday 29 April – Saturday 9 May 2020.  Tickets are priced from £15. Weekday matinees from £10.  To book tickets telephone 0121 236 4455 or online at

Twitter @BirminghamRep
Instagram @therepbirmingham

Light House urges 'Virtual Attendance' during temporary shutdown

Wolverhampton’s Light House cinema will temporarily closed its doors to audiences in the face of the coronavirus outbreak from tonight (19.3.20) . However, the charity is urging customers to consider a Virtual Attendance whereby they donate the money they would have spent on coming to the cinema to their #LoveLightHouse campaign. 

CEO Kelly Jeffs says: 

‘Times are difficult for everyone during this unprecedented turn of events, but as a charity things are especially tough as we are totally dependent on ticket sales and donations. As such we would urge our customers to consider donating money they would normally spend on tickets to our cinema. We’re calling it a ‘Virtual Attendance’ - people would be showing their support by pledging their ticket money to our Love Light House campaign instead of avoiding the cinema completely. Donations can be made through our website or by cheque through the post. We’d like to thank everyone in advance for their help at this difficult time and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Light House as soon as possible.’
If you would like to donate to the Love Light House campaign, please visit .

Music will help see us through corona crisis

A violin and viola teacher from Great Malvern in Worcestershire is launching lessons via Skype, as schools close across the UK.

Self-employed Daniel Neville normally teaches violin and viola at a wide range of local schools including Hanley Castle and Chantry High Schools, RGS The Grange, Malvern St. James and the Gloucestershire Academy of Music.

With schools set to close indefinitely, he is offering one-to-one lessons via Skype to pupils of all ages and ability levels.

“Being at home for weeks on end has the potential to get boring – but using some of the time constructively by learning an instrument is a fantastic way to challenge yourself, have fun and let off some steam,” says Daniel.

“I’ve already started teaching some of my local students by Skype this week – but I obviously now have the ability to teach people from literally anywhere. 

“My regular pupils range in age from 6 to 80.  If you’re an adult whose playing has lapsed and you are going to be homebound for a while, then this is the perfect time to get back in shape and to rediscover your love of music.”

Father-of-two Daniel Neville also runs a weekly string orchestra in Great Malvern (the Poolbrook String Group), which has also had to temporarily stop as a number of players are over 70.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by all the kind messages of support from members of the string group,” says Daniel.

“It provides a great social network for local players - and we will relaunch again as soon as we get official advice that it is safe to do so.”

42-year-old Daniel Neville is a professionally qualified teacher and is fully CRB checked.  He has extensive experience teaching the violin and viola to pupils of all abilities, from complete beginner through to grade 8.  He also teaches Scottish fiddle repertoire.  Daniel is a music graduate from the University of Birmingham, and a former member of the National Youth Orchestra.  He is also a member of the Kings Quartet, which performs regularly at weddings and social functions across the UK.

For information on the Kings Quartet, go to 

He can be emailed at  or call 07454 359794. 





British rock band VEGA who originated from Stratford-upon-Avon will release their new album “Grit Your Teeth” on Friday 12th June 2020 via Frontier Records. The album will be available pre-order from March 20th from 

The first single “Grit Your Teeth” will be released Friday March 20th and will available digitally from Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify.

Buckle up and hold tight, VEGA are back with the album of their career. “Grit Your Teeth” will take you to screaming highs and gritty lows. It’ll keep you coming back for more.

Says the band’s lead singer and frontman, Nick Workman, “Selfishly, we’ve taken a few risks by recording an album, that, first and foremost, we can be proud of. Don’t try and tag it with any sub-genre of rock or metal, just enjoy it.”

“Nick’s right”, says VEGA’s keyboardist, James Martin. “We set out to do something different on this album. We wanted to stand out from the rest of the pack.”

“The band agreed on making a more modern sounding and edgy record.” Reflects VEGA’s drummer, Martin Hutchinson. I think we definitely achieved that.”
“I think it’s our best album yet,” adds guitarist Mikey Kew.

If the last album, “Only Human”, was a commentary of what was going on our lives. The new album is very much a reflection of those times and the outcomes. It’s a very positive album in its overall message, but it also has a lot of dark moments. It was very therapeutic for the band to write and record the album.

VEGA’s love for love rock from the 80’s and early 90’s shines through without rehashing it. Their inspiration comes from the 80’s and 90’s (they even have a Miami Vice drum roll), however, the album also draws inspiration from other places, and dragged into 2020.

VEGA wrote the album from January 2019 until they started recording in August 2019. The album was recorded in an industrial unit in York with the Graves Brothers who have previously produced Asking Alexandria. That is more the “metal” side of the album and was a perfect fit for VEGA as they wanted to blend melody and hooks with power.

“Joe and Sam Graves did a great job producing the album. They knew exactly what the band were trying to achieve,” says Workman. Tracking finished by September 2019. Mixing and mastering was completed before Christmas.

Says VEGA’s bass player, Tom Martin - “This is stadium rock for 2020.”


Thursday 28 May

Friday 29 May SOLD OUT

Saturday 30 May