So how was the first week of easedown for you? Garden parties every night and straight back in to the office? Being able to see friends and family in our gardens has been wonderful after so long, but we’re not sure if it all seems that little bit too early, or if we’ve become a little agoraphobic; but is anyone else finding socialising in real life a little stressful?

Another thing we have found stressful is selecting a winner from our competition to win a £5000 publicity package from ourselves, as the standard of entrants has been so high.  But there is only one winner and we’re thrilled to announce that it’s the charity, Help the Homeless.  As a charity, they do such amazing work and they’ve never been more needed.  We can’t wait to get stuck in and start working with them to make a difference to them and their service users.

Thanks to all those that took the time to enter.  All those that applied can take advantage of a free 30-minute mentor session with one of the FU team, so get in touch to get yours booked.

It seems we’ve got some rainy days ahead, so a weekend of box sets rather than in the back-garden beckons.  Enjoy the rest, as with life returning to something resembling what it was, we’re all sure to be getting super busy again and quick!

Take care, Jon, Kevin and the #FUfighters

Obligatory Bad Joke

They said that a mask and gloves were enough to go to the supermarket but they lied.

Everyone else had clothes on.


Employers have been awaiting detail on how the continued Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will work since 12th May 2020. On 29th May, the Chancellor announced the changes to how the CJRS arrangement will work for businesses who have furloughed employees. Toni Robinson, Managing Director of NucleusHR provides an urgent update for employers on the latest announcement from the government regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The main announcements are:

There are no changes to the scheme up until 31 July 2020 – therefore employers will receive the same support as they currently do – 80% of pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, plus associated pension, and employer NIC costs.

From 1 July 2020 – “Flexible Furlough” will be introduced, which means a CJRS grant can be claimed for the days an employee is on furlough even if they return to work for certain days (e.g. on furlough for three days of the week and working two days). This introduction of the Flexible Furlough means that CJRS cannot be used for anyone who has not been furloughed before 10 June 2020.

From 1 August 2020 – whilst the employer will still be able to claim a CJRS wage grant of up to £2,500 (or 80% of pay if lower) per month, the additional CJRS pension and NIC support will stop.

From 1 September 2020 – The employer will be required to contribute 10% of the CJRS wage costs, with the Government’s contribution therefore reducing to 70% (maximum of £2,187.50).

From 1st October 2020 – The employer will be required to contribute 20% of the CJRS wage costs, with the Government’s contribution therefore reducing to 60% (maximum of £1,875).

The CJRS arrangement is due to come to an end completely on 31 October 2020.
It is important to note, that regardless of employer or government contribution an employee who is benefiting from the CJRS scheme should always receive a minimum of 80% of their salary up to £2,500 per month.

Although the detail has altered since the government announcement on 12th May, the announcement demonstrates that the government is keen to continue to support businesses and also help get individuals back to work as soon possible.


The Let’s Create packs are aimed at under-fives and primary and secondary school-aged children who are currently most in need of support and contain art supplies, including pens, pencils, paper, crayons and a scrapbook, as well as a booklet with a selection of creative activities.

In the East Midlands, around 2,000 packs will be delivered through Arts Council England’s Bridge organisations Arts Connect and The Mighty Creatives, and their local partners, such as charities, local authorities, schools, nurseries, food banks and community groups.

The packs aim to keep children and young people engaged and creative during the Covid-19 lockdown, and ensure that children most in need of support do not miss out on the health, wellbeing, and educational benefits of creativity while away from school.

The Let’s Create packs have been funded by The National Lottery, with additional support from Crafts Council and Art Fund and you can download the Let’s Create activity book, created by art teacher Andria Zafirakou, winner of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize, for free here.


BGF, the investment company, has announced that it will make donations totalling £100,000 to support local community-based charities across the UK & Ireland with Acorns Children’s Hospice, which has three sites across Selly Oak, Worcester and Walsall, receiving £12,500.

Amid the current challenges facing the nation, Acorns is continuing to provide emergency and end of life hospice care, as well as emotional and practical support to 600 families who are in strict isolation at home. The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on the charity and the children and families its supports.


Birmingham Botanical Gardens has been awarded £47,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund to help it meet its running costs after closing because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The funding to the charity was awarded after the National Lottery made £50million available to those most in need across the heritage sector.

The 15-acre oasis in Edgbaston closed its doors on March 24 when the country was put into lockdown. It meant the nationally important heritage site has since received no revenue income from visitors, schools, events, weddings or conferences.

Like the Gardens, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment, and sports sectors.


Patients at a Birmingham hospital unable to have visitors due to the current restrictions around Coronavirus will be able to send a special postcard home thanks to a young Central England Co-op shopper.

The retailer’s Marsh Lane Food Store in Erdington teamed up with Heartlands Hospital Charity to run a competition in local stores for children to help come up with a special design for the postcard. The winning entry was by nine-year-old Erin, a customer at the retailer’s Vicarage Road store in Kings Heath, and Marsh Lane Store Manager Dan Goodby and his colleagues have now had 4,000 printed and donated to the hospital to start giving out to patients.

Dan and colleagues visited the Bordesley Green hospital to deliver the finished postcards and colouring books as well as a cheque for £500 raised through in-store fundraising and 50 goody bags produced thanks to funding from Central England Co-op’s Western Membership and Community Council.

Central England Co-op is currently offering a 10% discount for all NHS workers to say thank you for their efforts working on the frontline to help tackle the Coronavirus, just show your ID card.


Fashion Eyewear is offering NHS staff a pair of prescription, reading or varifocal glasses, free of charge. With the generous support of De Rigo, Mondottica and of some of their other partners, the eyewear e-tailer will be offering top designer brands (starting at £49), for free. Calling upon their in-house opticians, they will fit and dispense the lenses to match most prescriptions and provide advice where necessary.

How it works: Fashion Eyewear has set up a unique page for NHS staff with a range of free designer frames

NHS staff can simply send an email to [email protected] using their NHS email address to receive a short confirmation form. You will then receive a unique discount code within 24 hours.

Once you have your code, log on to select your chosen frame, add your prescription details and Fashion Eyewear will dispense and send out the glasses.



Art for Charity, a collective of creatives and entrepreneurs from Birmingham, has launched the ‘Forward in Unity’ art project with the creation of its first- dedicated artwork in Digbeth. Designed to bring together Birmingham and draw on the skills and experience of some of our most exceptional creative talent, the goal is to create a permanent memorial to the hard work and lasting effects of the coronavirus crisis.

Head of Operations, Nathaniel Hanna, said: “We want to harness the creative potential across Birmingham to create a landmark moment for the city. We want to celebrate the spirit of Birmingham communities while paying homage to the efforts of those on the front lines at hospitals, care homes, education establishments and everywhere else across the city. Our aim is the creation of an artistic piece that the entire city can be proud of, then utilising its qualities as a fundraising tool to give people across Birmingham the opportunity to contribute to our ideology that the city will emerge from this crisis stronger than when it entered.”

Birmingham’s newest gallery, SUPA, has raised £2400 for Women’s Aid through its ‘SUPA Dip’ art postcard lottery. Supporters who took part became art collectors overnight, with some lucky participants winning mini-masterpieces worth a small fortune.

The ‘SUPA dip’ lottery, which went live on Monday 18th May, sold out within hours. Art lovers donated £30 each for the chance to win original artwork by some of Britain’s most celebrated artists, illustrators and designers, as well as some emerging talents.
Over 70 postcards were up for grabs, created by 25 contributing artists, including art icons such as the last-surviving Birmingham Surrealist, Desmond Morris, pioneer of feminist art in the 1970s, Su Richardson, and street artist, Fokawolf.

Other postcards were designed by up-and-coming graduates from Birmingham School of Art, potentially offering an early look at some of the big names of the future. All supporters were randomly allocated a postcard, only discovering which one they bought when it arrived through the post. Funds have been divided between Women’s Aid, the national charity, and the local Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid branch.


With the weather turning, what’s better than curling up on the sofa with a mug of something hot and a big slab of flapjack? These Caramel Latte seeded flapjacks are deliciously chewy, super easy to make and have just enough fruit and seeds in to make you feel a little bit holy! Hey, who needs a beach body this year? Get baking!


330ml Arctic Iced Coffee Caramel Latte
150g salted butter
55g soft dark brown sugar
1tbsp golden syrup
250g porridge oats
300g dried dates and apricots, chopped
100g mixed seeds


Pre heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a baking dish, approx. 25cm x 20cm with greaseproof paper. In a saucepan bring the Arctic Iced Coffee to the boil and reduce by half the volume. Turn down the heat and add the butter, sugar and syrup to the pan. Stir until the butter and sugar are melted and all is combined. In a bowl, mix the oats, fruit and seeds then stir in the coffee mixture. Tip into the prepared baking dish and cook for 25 minutes until firm and golden. Leave to cool in the dish then refrigerate. Cut into 16 bars. As an extra treat dip one side of the bar into melted chocolate.


Fitness fans looking to optimise their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing in lockdown have been told to try seven of the best yoga positions for beginners. The team from voucher savings websites have researched and revealed the best poses to practice if you’ve tried never yoga before, which will help strengthen and tone the entire body.

Yoga is a body and mind practice with a 5,000-year history in ancient Indian philosophy, but in recent years it has become popular as a form of physical exercise. Based upon poses that promote improved control of the mind and body, it focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. It can also help with weight loss, maintaining a balanced metabolism, and improving cardio and circulatory health.

You don’t have to be super flexible or fit to start practising it either – these poses are pretty straight forward and fairly risk-free if they’re done properly, start your workout here


Sutton Coldfield’s, The Belfry golf course, has reopened this week and to make sure your swing  is still sharp before you head back for a game, The Belfry’s Director of Golf, Chris Reeve, has shared his top tips on golf training at home. You can read them here.


With the cost of air fares expected to rise, flying an aeroplane might soon be the cheapest way to travel! Flying experiences with can be booked as vouchers from just £65 and can be used in 10 months, so a prefect for a post lockdown gift to look forward to.

Dan Jones, operations manager at, said: “Commercial flying, as we know it, has changed forever whether that’s for business trips, short breaks or taking a long-haul flight to the other side of the world. Those still needing an ‘air fix’ should consider a flying experience instead, which can be booked now and taken at a later date. And with prices from £65 to fly a microlight, it might actually be one of the cheapest ways to get airborne for some time.”

Dan added: “With Father’s Day on the horizon, a future flying experience could be the perfect gift for someone who wants to head above the clouds but is struggling to find an affordable option.”

 To learn more about, or to book a flying experience or flying lesson, visit


The first of this week’s Unsung Heroes has used social media throughout lockdown to support small businesses and business owners offering advice, sharing useful news and providing a sounding block for small business owners and the self-employed who have felt isolated and not known where to turn. This week’s Unsung Hero is Mark Ford – you can follow his page here.

Celebrating its 6th anniversary last Friday, TAG Network Midlands and its founder, Denise Morris continues to shine a light on the amazing, youth talent of Birmingham and the wider Midlands, giving

budding entrepreneurs, trainees, apprentices, graduates and young professionals a chance to develop themselves and their skills to fast-track their careers through building connections with established and successful professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs – including our very own, DLUXE Birmingham magazine.Denise is a constant innovator and hosted her innovative anniversary party last week over Zoom.  The Friday night session was not only a chance to celebrate the key date, but even had live cookery demonstrations by Chef Nitisha; a live wine masterclass by Tony Elvin, networking opportunities, and a DJ set by Tim Andrews – all raising money for LoveBrum charity.

Give Tag Network Midlands a look at 


Following its streaming of Amy Ng’s Under the Umbrella from 22-29 May, the Belgrade Theatre has announced that two further productions will be made available to watch online for free this summer.
From today until 3 August, audiences will have the chance to revisit the Ian Dury and the Blockheads musical, Reasons to be Cheerful. Part gig, part play, this loud, bold and jubilant coming-of-age tale was produced by Graeae in association with the Belgrade Theatre, and premiered in Coventry in September 2018.

Written by Paul Sirett and directed by Graeae’s Artistic Director, Jenny Sealey, the show is packed with punk attitude and stone-cold classic songs like Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick and Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, as well as the titular Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3.
Then from 16-30 June, the Belgrade will once again partner with Tamasha to present the online premiere of Satinder Chohan’s, Made in India. Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre and Tamasha in association with Pilot Theatre, this powerful play about motherhood is centred on the commercial surrogacy industry in India.

Full details of how to watch can be found on the Belgrade’s Between Stages hub at

Words of Wisdom

”You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

– Henry Ford

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