Monthly Archives: January 2018

GB stars for Birmingham World Cup announced at city school

As part of the annoucement of the GB World Cup squad for the Gymnastics World Cup to be held at Arena Birmingham, Cllr Ian Ward joined GB World Cup Gymnasts Ellie Downie and James Hall and Nick Moon at Bishop Challoner College.

Leading British gymnasts Ellie Downie and James Hall wowed students at Bishop Challoner Catholic College in Birmingham today (Tuesday 30th) as they were officially announced as part of the Great Britain team that will take on the best countries in the world in the city in just 50 days time.

Current European champion Downie and European bronze medalist Hall gave year 7 and 8 students a taste of what fans can expect to see at the Gymnastics World Cup at Arena Birmingham in March with a gymnastics display as part of their PE lesson.

Both gymnasts will join Nile Wilson and Claudia Fragapane as part of the four strong GB team who will take on the leading gymnastics nations from the Rio Olympics, where Team GB famously won seven medals in the sport.

The GB team will be up against gymnasts from eight other nations over two nights of competition in the all-round event, which for the men includes the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. The women will battle it out on vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.

Downie, who competed in Rio and made history last year by becoming the first ever-British gymnast to win a major all-round title by taking gold in European Championships in Romania said:

“I’m delighted to be part of a really strong Great Britain squad for the World Cup and can’t wait to take on the best in the world in front of a home crowd. There is a real passion for gymnastics in the Midlands and it was great to come here this morning and meet some of the students who could be GB stars of the future.”

“The World Cup will be the first chance many of them will get to experience a major gymnastics event in their home city so hopefully they can get down to the Arena Birmingham with their friends and families and cheer us on in 50 days time.”

Hall, who also tasted success at last year’s European Championships, taking bronze in the men’s all around event, will compete in his first ever World Cup. The 22-year-old commented:

“The Gymnastics World Cup is a massive event with the very best gymnasts in the world all coming to Birmingham to compete. For myself and the other British gymnasts, the home crowd support will be huge and could be the difference in taking us on to the medal podium. Representing your country is a great honour and I can’t wait to walk out in my GB kit in Arena Birmingham and show the British fans what I can do.”

The World Cup on March 21st and March 22nd is one of the first major international sporting events in the city in the countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and will be the last event before gymnasts from the four home nations head to the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, who was also at the school for today’s team announcement added: “Birmingham has a fantastic track record of staging major sporting events and, as excitement builds towards 2022, the World Cup will give people a taste of what the Games will be like in four years’ time.”

Britain will take on Brazil, China, Japan, Germany, Holland, USA and Russia in the event with the Ukraine also joining the men’s competition. Gymnasts from the other competing nations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Birmingham event is the penultimate competition in the World Cup Series, which has already visited the USA and will finish in Japan. Nations compete to be crowned World Cup winners with each individual event securing vital points on the leader board. Medals are awarded at each event, with gymnasts also picking up ranking points in the hope of being crowned the World Cup series champion.

Tickets for both nights of the event are available now from

Birmingham named top for start-ups outside London

For the fifth year in a row, Birmingham has topped the list for the highest number of new start-ups outside London.

However, London still hugely dominates the start-up scene with an incredible 187,250 new businesses set up last year.

The main factors contributing to Birmingham’s flourishing entrepreneurial spirit include its world-class accelerator schemes, affordable office space, and access to global markets.

Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader, said: “Birmingham is once again creating more businesses than any city outside the capital, cementing our status as one of Britain’s most innovative cities.

“Through dedicated support for entrepreneurs and small firms, more start-ups are being created than ever before, and record numbers of businesses and people are choosing Birmingham as their home.

“This has not happened by coincidence and is the result of years of hard work to create the perfect environment for skilled entrepreneurs, who are provided with world-class accelerator schemes, affordable office space and access to a global market.

“These statistics just go to show that Birmingham is the perfect place for people with a good idea to succeed.”

Andy Street, Mayor for the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “Recent successes with the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture demonstrate the confidence and excitement in our region and these record numbers of start-ups created last year reinforce the view that this is our time.

“It’s never been more important to focus on driving growth in our great regions, and Birmingham is leading the way with more small businesses being created than any other regional city.

“With the West Midlands fighting to attract Channel 4 to our region, successes like this – which are heavily based on our strengths in the digital and creative industries – will help our case significantly.”

Saqib Bhatti, director for Growing Businesses and Representing SMEs at Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), added:

“It comes as no surprise that Birmingham has maintained its position as the UK’s leading regional start-up destination for the fifth year in a row.

“It is testament to the city’s hard-working nature, entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant support networks that Birmingham continues to come out on top.

“The GBSLEP Growth Hub provides a single point of contact for growing companies that are looking for advice and funding – so they can expand, innovate, recruit and ultimately fulfil their potential.

“Since it launched in 2015, the Growth Hub has helped 500 start-ups across Greater Birmingham and Solihull, which has created over 400 jobs and supported the area’s ongoing transformation.

“From creative to tech, professional services to retail, vibrant start-ups are helping to further cement the region’s reputation as a hotbed for industry and innovation.”

Below is the full list of start-up businesses by city for 2017.

1. London (combined): 187,250 start-ups

2. Birmingham: 12,108

3. Manchester: 8,295

4. Glasgow City: 6,189

5. Leicester: 5,942

6. City of Edinburgh: 5,176

7. Leeds: 4,915

8. Liverpool: 4,707

9. Bromsgrove: 4,703

10. Bristol: 4,320

Council supports website helping homeless people make the right move  

Homeless people in Birmingham are just one click away from connecting with with local landlords thanks to a new website Homeless Rooms Birmingham .

HomelessRooms logoBirmingham City Council is working with the creators of this new scheme in a pilot to help homeless people make the right move into long term accommodation.

The idea for Homeless Rooms Birmingham came from social entrepreneurs Mark Peters and Lee Blake. After speaking to prospective tenants (mostly young people) who were searching to find a place to live in the city, they found that the expensive deposits and high fees charged by some landlords and estate agents were putting accommodation way out of these young people’s reach.

On the Homeless Rooms Birmingham website, people can search for decent quality accommodation, offered by landlords who accept people as tenants without deposits, admin fees or high rents. There is also advice to help prevent a person from becoming homeless, or support a person to move on from a hostel.

Councillor Sharon Thompson, Ambassador for addressing rough sleeping and homelessness at Birmingham City Council, said: “Homeless Rooms Birmingham is an innovative way of helping homeless people make the move into long term accommodation. We are keen to see this scheme for increasing access to supported housing get off the ground, so we are match funding monies that they raise via their Crowdfunding campaign. “

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added:  “We’ve seen a dramatic rise in homelessness and rough sleeping across the country in recent years and Birmingham is no different. So we’re looking for creative ways to tackle this crisis and we work closely with partners to find solutions to support those at risk.

“Homeless Rooms Birmingham is the latest new initiative, following the recent launch of Change Into Action – an alternative giving scheme created in partnership with the Mayor for the West Midlands. We will also be introducing a Housing First pilot, to offer people entrenched in homelessness permanent homes and help them get their lives back on track. These are all part of our vision to eradicate homelessness in Birmingham.”