This Friday, 24 April sees the annual ‘Walking the Fair’ event in Walsall.
Each year the Mayor, guests and townsfolk walk the symbolic route through the town centre and Walsall Market in recognition of the vital role that markets play in establishing enterprise in the town.
According to its organisers Walsall Civic Society, the age-old walk is steeped in history and dates back as far as 1662. It heralds the opening of annual fairs, or markets and celebrates the town’s right to trade. This right was originally granted in Walsall’s charter by King Charles I.
The Mayor of Walsall, Peter Smith will lead this year’s celebration from the town centre.
He said, “This is a vibrant and colourful event and a highlight of my Mayoral Year. It is important to value heritage events like Walking the Fair as it not only keeps the tradition alive, but provides entertainment for local people. I’m delighted to be taking part and look forward to chatting to our time honoured traders along the way.”
The opening to the walk starts at 10.30am in the square outside The Crossing at St Paul’s in Darwall Street, adjacent to the Bus Station.
Performance highlights from outside the church include a special ‘Sister Dora Dance’ from The Glorishears of Brummagem Morris dancers, and a special call to order from the Town Crier, Cyril Richardson, who will then give readings from the Ruffus Charter of 1225, the town’s oldest document.
The procession, which is expected to last an hour, will then cross The Bridge and move up Bradford Street and through the Market, where the Mayor will meet with traders who have collected gifts for his charity.
Small businesses and sole traders who work in the construction and supply industries are being given the chance to pitch their products and services to developers who are working on three exciting projects in Walsall.
Walsall businesses are being urged to attend Walsall’s third Meet the Buyer event at Walsall College’s Wisemore campus on Thursday 30 April to find out about contracts on offer at the two new leisure centres in Bloxwich and Oak Park and the new cinema and retail development at Walsall Waterfront.
More than 60 local businesses attended the last Meet the Buyer event in November, which centred around the £26m Darlaston highways improvement scheme, the new £11m Business and Sports Hub at the college and the £3.2m HQ for Jhoots Pharmacy.
Construction firm ISG is working with Walsall Council to deliver both leisure centres, which will include a 25 metre eight lane swimming pool, teaching/learner pool, six court sports hall, 100 station fitness suite, dance studio, two squash courts, cafe, artificial turf pitch and additional car parking spaces for each centre.
Both sites are expected to be completed by Summer next year.
Kier Property – through their appointed contractor G F Tomlinson Group – is behind the £12m, eight screen The Light Cinema development, which will provide around 5,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, including four restaurants, Chiquito, Pizza Express, Bella Italia and Hungry Horse.
Both developers are keen to work with local suppliers and tradespeople to ensure Walsall businesses benefit from each project.
ISG Regional director Jon James, said: “This event is an open invitation to all those high-quality construction trade specialists looking to learn more about the opportunities associated with this key leisure scheme.
“The region has a wealth of skills and expertise that we are looking to deploy on the construction of the Oak Park and Bloxwich leisure centres, and we are determined that the scheme will create a skills legacy that will not only benefit the local economy, but also the wider construction industry.”
Andy Sewards, managing director at G F Tomlinson Group added: “We’re delighted to be involved in such an important regeneration project on Walsall’s Waterfront which is helping to create new job opportunities and grow the local economy. We’re committed to working closely with all stakeholder partners and local people to ensure this new leisure complex development is the best it can be to meet the needs of the local community.”
The event is open to businesses who are already involved in commercial contracts and to those who are interested in moving into this field.
Simon Neilson, Walsall Council’s executive director for economy and environment, said: “It is one of our top priorities to ensure that local businesses and our residents who are self-employed are given the opportunity to work with these key developers to boost the economy in Walsall by creating new and safeguarding existing jobs.
“We want to ensure that every investment we and our partners make into Walsall is an investment in our economic future.”
Local firms will have access to one-to-one business advice and the opportunity to meet with the developers to help businesses grow and access the supply chain.
Music lovers are now able to grab their place at the boroughs highest music festival, the Bands on the Beacon happening this June.
Taking place over two days for the first time since the event started in 2010, the family friendly music event will provide a variety of pop, rock and funk soundtracks to accompany the 360 views on offer from one of the regions premier landmarks.
Tickets for the event are now available for sale from specialist secure ticketing website TicketsSource. Running from 12.30pm-6pm each day, adults cost £4, children aged 5 to 15 are ‘A quid a kid’ and under fives can come for free.
All tickets are valid for one day, include free parking and are inclusive of a booking fee. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, chair of Barr Beacon Trust which has pledged £5,000 to the event said: “There is a lot of excitement about this year’s Bands on the Beacon festival. New and established local bands will be showcasing their talent on the two stages throughout the two days promising a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some live music in a stunning setting.”
Wayne Moseley, local businessman, and one of the event’s organisers and sponsors said: “Details of the line up will be announced shortly. We can guarantee that the audience will be treated to high quality acts performing on both days as well as the opportunity to sample locally produced ales, food and crafts”.
A range of up to date information, support and advice available in Walsall is just a click away thanks to a new online directory.
Walsall’s Community Living Directory is an easy to use comprehensive website available online at www.wcld.co.uk/
Walsall residents can now find out about local and national care and support services including what’s going on in their local community, at the touch of a button by accessing the new directory.
Individuals can search information about money matters, help to live at home, housing advice, things to do, staying safe, caring for someone, health and wellbeing, getting about and education, training and employment.
The site will include a product showroom where people can view aids and equipment to help them live independently as well as a personal assistant network to search individuals they could employ to help them with their daily living needs.
Individuals will also be able to refer themselves to help and support electronically through the website.
The web-based directory has been developed to help signpost local people to help and advice in their community which has become more important as the Care Act becomes law on 1 April 2015.
The act places a duty on all councils to provide comprehensive information and advice about care and support services in their local area. In addition, councils will be expected to give people the support they need to help prevent their care needs from becoming more serious, or delay the impact of their needs.
Children and families with special educational needs (SEN) will also be able to access a range of information and advice through the directory as the SEN local offer will also be available through the website.
Councillor Diane Coughlan, portfolio holder for social care at Walsall Council, said: “This directory is much more than a social care resource, it is for anyone wishing to find out more about help and activities available in Walsall.
“Our aim is to signpost people to a range of good quality information and advice.
“Being able to access local information about community groups and support agencies will help people to remain more independent.
“This is important because in future the council will likely have more people requesting help and support, so it is essential we try to signpost people and their families where possible.
“If people are able to access good local information and advice they will remain more independent for longer and they will have the information they need to make good decisions about activities, care and support.
“I would encourage everyone to take a look at the Walsall Community Living Directory on www.wcld.co.uk/ and find out what’s on offer.”
Banned artificial colours linked to hyperactivity, asthma and cancer have been discovered in takeaway and restaurant dishes being served in Walsall during product testing.
Seven out of eight chicken tikka or chicken tikka masala dishes tested by Walsall Council’s trading standards team were found to contain one of two banned substances Sunset Yellow(E110)and Ponceau 4R (E124) – a red colouring. Since 2013 they have not been allowed in seasonings and curry pastes.
An eighth dish which was tested and was noticeably less red in colour did not contain either.
Other artificial colours linked with hyperactivity in children were also found during testing but were within approved limits.
Trading standards officers are now working with the businesses surveyed to make them aware of their responsibilities when preparing and selling food. They are also urging all business owners to examine labels to ensure banned colours are not added to food and others are used in acceptable quantities.
Lorraine Boothman, interim trading standards manager, said: “Food labelling regulations do not require takeaway food and restaurant meals to be marked with a list of ingredients so customers are putting their faith in food businesses to use permitted colours and to not exceed set amounts.
“As an alternative to artificial colouring we actively encourage businesses to use natural colours such as tumeric, saffron and paprika.Our officers are happy to give advice to any business to help them comply with any of the legal requirements.
“We have been and will continue to work with businesses throughout the borough to remind them of their responsibilities and ensure they can continue to produce dishes which are appealing to their customers whilst not breaching regulations.”
Garden waste collections from households across Walsall will restart at the end of this month.
The brown bin service will resume in the week beginning Monday 30 March. Collection days vary between different parts of the borough and residents should check their calendar for details.
Households will currently have a calendar which runs until the end of March. New calendars covering the period April 2015 to April 2016 will be delivered to households next month.
Together with details of brown bin collections it also outlines when grey bins (general household waste) and green bins(recycling) are due to be emptied in the next year together with special arrangements for Christmas and New Year 2015/16.
Alternatively residents can use the postcode checker available on the Walsall Council website to find details of their next scheduled collection.
In line with previous years the brown bin service will run for eight months with a four month shutdown during the winter when traditionally people have less garden waste to dispose of.
During the winter closedown, garden rubbish can also be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre’s at Fryers Road, Leamore, and Merchants Way, Aldridge or placed in the grey bin with the general household rubbish.