Race Cars, Chocolate, Dog Walks, Popcorn And Handwashing – FU Loves Birmingham #11

What a confusing week! We’re not ones to stay negative here, though, so we’re focusing on the positives and will be maintaining our ‘stay home and stay safe’ attitude until clearly told otherwise – we’ve all been through too much already to muck it up now! That said, I am very tempted to call a friend for a social distancing-appropriate dog walk, just so our dogs can see their puppy pals again – they’re such sociable little creatures that isolation is taking its toll and they’re looking quite down in the mouth. Dogs don’t do Zoom, we’ve discovered.

So, although some things remain unclear, it’s good to see that the Furlough scheme is being extended until October to protect the phased reintegration of staff back into the workplace – we’ve more on that below, along with what people have been doing to lend their communities a hand; some top-drawer business advice; a sprinkling of health and wellbeing tips and some things for you to waste a little bit of time on this weekend – I think I’ve finished Netflix, so will be taking heed!

Stay safe, stay home and stay positive.  Remember, FU Loves You, Jon, Kevin and the FUFighters


I wanted to write a joke about self-isolation, but it wasn’t going anywhere.


New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

As always, guidance is changing constantly with how to return staff to work safely, however, Toni Robinson, Managing Director of NucleusHR and NucleusHS has provided a guide for employers, outlining the main requirements set out by the government.

She has set out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

1. Work from home, if you can

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Employers are encouraged to discuss with their teams as to when their workplace will open.

2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers

or trade unions

Employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and it is  expected all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is included in the government documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.

If you wish to take further advice on how best to handle COVID-19 in your business, please contact NucleusHR on 07960 418494 or [email protected]


Henley in Arden’s The Butchers Social, has adapted to life in lockdown by becoming a high-street shop, selling local produce and take-away meals.Following the government closure of eat-in restaurants, Mike Bullard chef-owner of The Butchers Social, initially began preparing ready-meals for customers to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. Now taking it to the next level, The Butchers Shop is operating a full ‘click and collect’ service, sending shoppers a catalogue of products to order from ready for them to pick up in store.

Offering an alternative to the over-stretched supermarkets, the shop is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, quality meats, essential supplies like milk and flour, a selection of beers and wines, and even household plants. Not only does it enable locals to stock-up on their high-street; it also allows them to shop local, and support the small businesses and suppliers hit hardest by Covid-19.

To find out more about The Butchers Social and what it offers, call the team on 01564 792135 or visit www.thebutchers.social


With many of us growing bored to tears of our other half’s ‘signature’ dishes – 50 days of Spaghetti Bolognese is enough for anyone – you may be interested to note that this week is National Vegetarian Week.  Running until the 17th May, it could be the perfect antidote for anyone stuck in a culinary rut. We’ve pulled together some of our most favourite veggie recipes – from Mushroom Mac ‘n Cheese to the ultimate Chilli Non-Carne!

Click here to see the recipes and release the flavours!


Organisers of Birmingham’s biggest free-entry food and drink festival have taken the decision to postpone this year’s event.  The Colmore Food Festival  was set to take place for the tenth year on Friday 3 and Saturday  4 July in Centenary Square, however after careful consideration by organisers Colmore BID, it was deemed best to postpone the event for 2020 rather than reschedule for later in the year.

Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID, said “Since the government’s ban on mass gatherings back in March, we have been monitoring the situation regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic and what action to take. While our initial instinct was to postpone till later in the year, with a phased return to business and additional restrictions on hospitality businesses, we felt the best course of action was in fact to cancel this year’s event. Colmore BID is planning a series of virtual events though, find out more at www.colmorebusinessdistrict.com


There has been 164% more searches for top 10 key worker careers in the last 90 days of lockdown reveals personal finance experts at money.co.uk who have  released the2020 Key Worker Nation Report.

The report shows that overall searches for key worker roles rise by 67% with searches for healthcare jobs having increased by an average of 82%. However, it’s delivery driver jobs that have been searched for the most; +475% more searches in the last 90 days.


The need for frequent and thorough hand washing to stop the spread of the virus has been well documented. However, within a retail or warehouse environment, direct access to soap and water can be limited, so it may be worth considering a pop-up hand washing station to ensure you can open safely to the public.

Requiring no plumbing or electricity, these Hand Wash Stations, come complete with soap, paper towels and a waste bin. The water is foot pump-activated by the user. Each unit can hod 45 litres of water, enough for 225, 20-second hand washes. Made from lightweight, recycled plastics, these hand washing stations can be easily located throughout the shop to ensure that areas of high footfall are targeted.

Find out more about them at www.cleanerretail.com.


Following the launch of its Coronavirus Resilience Fund last month, Heart of England Community Foundation has now distributed over £542,000 to local charities and community programmes across the region. A designated pot created specifically to support local projects that are having to adapt, modify or pivot to survive COVID-19, the Foundation’s latest fund has already benefitted 28 projects in Coventry.

Coventry’s charities and community programmes have so far received a combined £91, 883 from Heart of England Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund, including the likes of Willenhall Community Forum, Holbrooks Community Care Association and Langar Aid.  The Foundation has also awarded a number of large grants to four indispensable charities whose services are important to many communities across the region. Compton Care in Wolverhampton, Coventry Haven’s Women Aid, and Birmingham based SIFA Fireside all received £30,000 and Green Lane Mosque & Community Centre, also in Birmingham, were awarded £10,000. For more information about the funding and how to apply, please visit: https://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/coronavirus-resilience-fund/


COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on all areas of the UK Economy, however according to data analysed by Commercial Property Specialists, Instant Offices, the sectors that are least affected are mostly likely to see a faster bounce back with predictions pointing towards a slow recovery starting from July 2020 following relaxed lockdown measures.

Based on the sectoral make-up of each region, the analysis shows London’s GVA is set to be the least affected due to its extensive service-based economy and remote workforce, with a reduction of 7.3% in 2020. However, in 2021, they will only see a slight increase at 8%. In contrast, the West Midlands is forecast to see GVA reduce by 10.1% but in 2021 this is likely to increase at 11.3% due to its sizeable automotive sector.


Join Malika and Sophie from the National Space Centre for a fun #FamilySpaceQuiz on their Facebook page on Friday 15 May at 18:00.  There will be three rounds of ten questions, relating to themes including space movies and space firsts. The quiz will take about one hour, and they promise that you’ll learn lots of fun space facts along the journey.

This quiz is just for fun, but there will be a prize for one lucky family – based on the best team name on the night.


Dean Cole, Head Pastry Chef at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, has shared his recipe to make six gooey and rich hot chocolate fondants, so you can make hotel-quality food at home. We’re totally trying this at the weekend!


140g 85% dark chocolate

125g Unsalted butter

4 Large eggs

120g Caster sugar

75g Plain flour


Cocoa powder


Melt 140g of dark chocolate with a 125g unsalted butter over a pan of hot water. Once melted remove from the pan, add two eggs, and whisk the mixture. Add the last two eggs and continue to whisk the mixture before adding 120g of caster sugar. Continue to stir the chocolate mixture. Add 75g of plain flour and stir the mix until smooth. Lightly butter your moulds and coat with cocoa powder before transferring the mix (approx. 120g). Place the filled moulds on a tray and bake for eight minutes at 180֯C. After eight minutes, remove from the oven and leave to rest for two minutes. Serve as desired. We recommend serving with berries and whipped cream or ice cream


Are you missing popping into Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) for your favourite brunch dish or visiting Sarehole Mill for a spot of lunch? Fear not, as they’ve launched their delicious recipe boxes, inspired by some of the most popular dishes at the venues.

The new service includes a series of recipe boxes which contains all the ingredients along with simple instructions so you can prepare and cook your chosen dish. Recipes boxes include: The Sarehole Bakehouse Pizza Box; the BMAG Edwardian Tearooms Brunch Box: Eggs Benedict and the BMAG Edwardian Tearooms Brunch Box: Smoked Salmon and Eggs

Deliveries will be made on Friday, Saturday and Sunday within a 15mile radius of Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.

You can find more details here www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/recipe-boxes/recipe-boxes.


Going through Cancer can be an isolating experience at any time, and especially when social distancing. You might be feeling lonely, overwhelmed or anxious due to the current uncertainty.  Macmillan Cancer have launched a new Telephone Buddy Scheme to offer emotional support to anyone that has been affected by the disease.  The trained buddy will be a listening ear at the end of the telephone, ready to discuss how you’re feeling as well as your support needs during this difficult time and can provide ongoing emotional support over a period of up 12 weeks, or more depending on your needs, to help ensure you don’t face Cancer alone. Find out more here.


Searching for light, summery snacks now the sun is shining? Look no further than Ten Acre’s moreish hand-picked popcorn range.  If you love a mix of sweet and savoury, like we do, then pop the classic Aunty Winifred’s Sweet and Salty Popcorn in your basket. Or, if you crave something different, then choose Lucia Popperly’s Cappuccino popcorn for a subtle kick of coffee and a smooth taste.

Made in the UK, Ten Acre popcorn is gluten, dairy and MSG free; as well as being Vegan, Vegetarian and Kosher certified, so it really ticks all the boxes when snack shopping! Get them here www.tenacrecrisps.co.uk


A record-breaking charity champion is set to enact her version of the Proclaimers classic and Row 500 miles over the next five weeks to raise much needed funds for the NHS and The Brain Tumour Charity.

Ann Atkins will have to log 20 miles a day, five days a week for the five weeks from May 9 to June 13 on her Concept 2 indoor rowing machine to reach her target.

Ann is the organiser of the annual Row For It charity event in Solihull, which she created in 2013 to raise funds and awareness for The Brain Tumour Charity.  She began indoor rowing to support the charity after her daughter Iona was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour at the age of five in 2007. Since then she has helped raise more than £170,000 for the charity.

Ann said: “This year’s Row For It also had to be cancelled due to the restrictions and it was planned for June 13 so it made sense to link the two challenges and call it Go For It (at home).“I’m starting my 500 mile journey on May 9 and I will aim to cover the 500 miles by June 13. It is quite daunting to row 20 miles every day, but I am so lucky to have an amazing team of friends and family who have pledged their own challenges in support.”

Money raised will go towards The Brain Tumour Charity, the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and the University Hospitals Birmingham Charity.

Anyone interested in taking part can find out more information on the Go for It (at home) Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/665819877542855/


Sauce Supper Club, chef Tom Shepherd and Manor Farm Fruits have all come together to offer restaurant quality food safely prepared and delivered to customers’ doorsteps every Friday and Saturday.

Sauce Supper Club founder, Beth Toovey, commented; “We had the most amazing chef, the audience, the ability to distribute and take orders, but we were without a kitchen. Elaine Clarke at Manor Farm immediately stepped in! Normally the Strawberry Cabin at Hints would be packed with families enjoying a well-earned lunch or home-made cake after picking their own strawberries but, since the restrictions, the cabin has fallen silent. With a fully kitted out professional kitchen it is the perfect space for Sutton Coldfield born chef Tom Shepherd to create his food.”

Tom has worked at many Michelin star establishments throughout his career including 2 Michelin star Restaurant Sat Bains, The Latymer with Michael Wignall and only recently left his Head Chef position at 1 Michelin star Adams Restaurant, Birmingham, to set up his first solo venture in Lichfield city centre. His plans have been delayed due to the pandemic and he is delighted to be able to showcase his food through this new venture.

“We are all working so hard to ensure that the quality is at the highest standard. My goal is to make sure that every customer really feels that the meals are extra special!” enthused Tom.

Each Dine at Home box contains a 3-course meal for two people with bread and a treat from Tom, prepped ready to be stirred, baked and plated to create dishes fit to grace any Michelin star table!

Diners can choose from either a meat or vegetarian option and both are priced at £75 and are a complete meal for 2; boxes for 3 or 5 people are also available. Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, postponed weddings – any celebration! Delivery to Lichfield and surrounding area is free – Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham incurs a delivery charge (£5 – £10) – please call for details. For further details and to book please visit www.saucesupperclub.co.uk

Image: www.beckytranter.com


The Beauty Hall from NEXT will replace Debenhams’ beauty hall in Bullring. NEXT recognised the opportunity to develop an extensive premium Beauty business after a successful online collaboration with Fabled by Marie Claire.  It currently sells over 200 beauty brands on next.co.uk,including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Benefit, Origins, The Ordinary, GHD, Dermalogica, Aveda, Illamasqua, Elemis, Burberry, By Terry, Rituals, L’Occitane, Bvlgari,  Emporio Armani and Boss and additional premium brands including Bobbi Brown, YSL, Lancôme and Nars through its sister site Fabled.com.

Hammerson, owners of Bullring, will pursue opportunities to repurpose the other floors, as it continues to reduce the amount of department store space in its portfolio.


Want to mix up your next work catch up? Or, maybe just fantasise that that round the world cruise you booked is actually happening? The Scenic Group (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises) has launched a range of Zoom backgrounds showcasing destinations and onboard features of their luxury fleet.

There are over 25 virtual backgrounds to choose from including the swimming pool on board Emerald Harmony as the ship sails down the mighty Mekong River and stunning shots of Arctic glaciers from the luxury Scenic Eclipse.

You can download the backgrounds here and here


Brand new research reveals that Brits intend to live life to the max rather than holding back when government restrictions in response to coronavirus are lifted. The data from TrackDays.co.uk shows that voucher sales for future experiences are being dominated by its premium five-supercar blast where post lockdown thrill seekers will be able to enjoy Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins and other supercar giants on the racetrack.  We’ll have a McClaren, please.


“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Marie Curie.

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