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.



Launching a new business in the midst of a global pandemic is no mean feat, but the team at Orton’s Brasserie, which is situated in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, have thought outside of the box by putting their food in the box!

Joe’s Delivery Service, by Orton’s Brasserie, which has taken over the building previously inhabited by the Queen Victoria Arts Club in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter at Orton Square, has been launched to introduce the people of Leicester to a flavour of the Brasserie’s menu with the focus from the start on one of the most missed meals during lockdown – brunch!

Guy Kersey, Owner of Orton’s Brasserie and well known within the city as owning and operating the Leicester based American Football Club, The Falcons, said: “Although we’re not able to throw open the doors for the launch party of our dreams quite yet, we are excited to be able to offer something a little different to the city’s food offering at this time. With many of our favourite eateries closed for business, and after lots of conversations with the people of Leicester, we discovered that, of all the meals out that people were missing the most, brunch was by far the biggest.”

Brunch from Joe’s Delivery Service is the perfect way for Leicester foodies to discover the Orton’s Brasserie style; the venue is, after all, named after the infamous Leicester playwright, Joe Orton, who was well known for his love of unpretentious, flavoursome British food.

Home diners can choose from a range of much-loved brunch classics and boxed meals including: The Brunchwich, which is made from fresh Brioche buns, toasted  Bagels or English Breakfast Muffins, filled with a range of premium, handcrafted, brunch items including Orton’s signature sausage patties, British dry cure streaky bacon and sunny side up eggs. Add one of their house-made bubble & squeak cakes, baked beans, and fresh fruit juice to make it a meal – and flexitarians fear not, Vegetarian & Plant Based options are also available.

There’s a selection of smoothies and fruit juices available to accompany and you can even upgrade your brunch to make it a boozy one, as Joe’s Delivery Service offer a fully curated cocktail menu to choose from that includes staple brunch additions: the Bloody Mary and refreshing Mimosa.

The Joe’s Delivery Service by Orton’s Brasserie launches on Saturday 6th June and will be available within 20 minutes’ drive time of the Cultural Quarter Brasserie to ensure the food arrives piping hot and perfectly presented. Prices start at just £4 for an Egg Brunchwich, to see a full copy of the menu or to make your order visit the Just Eat and Eat Me apps, or you can pop by and order at Orton Square.


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.


New images have been released for the upcoming Hotel Brooklyn that is set to open in summer 2022 beside the expanded Welford Road Stadium – home to the famous Leicester Tigers rugby team. Hotel Brooklyn, Leicester will boast 191 stylish bedrooms and will offer high-class corporate hospitality, a number of skyline suites and 2 restaurants.


The actions of Leicestershire’s volunteers and voluntary organisations are being celebrated this week as National Volunteers’ Week (until 7th June) takes on an alternative format this year. Due to Covid-19, the team at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire have come up with some innovative ways to express their gratitude to the county’s voluntary sector and provide a bespoke programme of activities, culminating in the premiere of a special video.

Alongside the estimated 6,000 charities and community groups across Leicester and Leicestershire, the current pandemic has also seen an ‘army’ of over 2,400 new volunteers step up and sign up to support their local community following VAL’s recent outreach campaign, run in conjunction with Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council.

Although the team at VAL are unable to run their usual packed schedule of events and workshops during this year’s National Volunteers’ Week, they have come up with some alternative solutions to continue their support for the charities and organisations under their care – from a Volunteering Network Zoom session with speakers including Dave Andrews (Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire), to training webinars on managing remote volunteers and a live Q&A via Twitter.
By the end of the week, VAL are also due to premiere a heart-warming video featuring well-known faces from the region, volunteers and VAL staff as a final thank you to all those who are providing support and volunteering their time across Leicester and Leicestershire.
Kevin Allen-Khimani, Executive Manager – Public Sector Contracts & Projects at VAL, said: “The current Coronavirus lockdown has enabled individuals to take stock of what is important in life, and that has overwhelmingly been helping others.

“I think we have all felt vulnerable during the last few months, in one way or another, but at VAL we’ve seen a dramatic increase in registrations from citizens of Leicestershire who want to volunteer their time and skills to make things better or easier for others.  It’s hugely commendable and we hope that this is the real legacy to Covid-19, upon which we can build and develop further in the future”.

The team are hopeful that those who have pledged their time more recently throughout the pandemic, will continue to find the opportunity to support others through volunteering as things move back to “normal”.

Kevin continues: “Although we know that the current situation has of course increased the need for volunteers across the region, there are still so many charities and small groups that will require ongoing support. Our hope is that the importance placed on helping others over the last few months will continue as we navigate our way through the next phase of emerging from lockdown and beyond.”

For further information on the Volunteer Week activities on offer, please visit:



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.


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.”


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.


Volunteers from across Leicestershire are being asked to lend their support to Bottesford-based Belvoir Fruit Farms during the elderflower harvest season this month (June), as demand for its cordial, driven by at-home consumption, soars by 15%.

Local families and workers who have been made redundant or put on furlough are just some of the people Belvoir Fruit Farms are calling upon to pitch in and hand pick the many wild elderflowers growing across the Vale of Belvoir.

Elderflowers will be purchased from pickers by the kilogram, making it both great outdoor exercise and an ideal way to top up earnings for those whose income has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic- you could earn £50 for around four hours work in the sunshine. To find out more about the 2020 elderflower harvest and how to get involved, visit


Launching this week, Future Me is a seven-week virtual careers programme to give young people the opportunity to gain encounters with employers from Leicester and Leicestershire, and to help further their careers education despite the current challenges.

Produced by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP), in partnership with Pathways and the University of Leicester, the programme will allow young people to gain meaningful encounters with inspirational business leaders, despite the constraints of lockdown and consists of seven weekly sessions that will explore an essential life skill: teamwork; communication; self-belief; problem solving; and self-management.

The course is aimed at students in years 9 and 10, is free of charge and running now. The sessions will be available for teachers to use in a classroom setting post-lockdown, ensuring that the insights gained from the course will continue to pay dividends for a long while to come. Find out more at

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.


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.


Market Harborough’s Jubilee Foodbank has paid tribute to the generosity of local donors and volunteers who have helped keep the service running during a spike in demand. A range of organisations, shops, individuals and businesses regularly donate to the foodbank, but with the number of referrals more than doubling recently, local people have stepped up their donations. The Jubilee Foodbank is consistently helping over 100 households every month during the Covid-19 crisis and has already supported over 250 households so far this year.

The foodbank is now supplementing gaps in food stocks by purchasing products such as tinned minced meat, vegetables and fruit using financial donations made by both individuals and organisations. There have also been food drives in churches and in some residential areas.

Liz Mills, chair of the Jubilee Foodbank commented: “The foodbanks at Harborough and Kibworth are a perfect example of the community working in accord to support each other.” She adds; “The service simply couldn’t run without that assistance. From those checking in on vulnerable people, to those giving money, time, or food, we hugely appreciate this essential help at such a difficult time.”

For more information about the Jubilee Foodbank, go to



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 


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


Front line workers at four of the county’s hospitals have benefited from a generous £2,000 grant from Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to assist with the “Heinz to Home” program.
Heinz UK, along with Leicestershire based company Clements, have recently launched “Heinz to Home” an online shopping portal delivering Heinz products direct to your door.

Two hundred food parcels have been created and delivered to the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Hospital, Glenfield Hospital, and LOROS. Each parcel consists of Heinz products that are essential to keep our key workers energised and ready to serve those of us in need.


The 10th edition of the festival celebrating South Asian culture, An Indian Summer, has been repackaged and reimagined for an online audience this year due to COVID-19, making it the UK’s first online South Asian arts festival.

Entirely hosted online for free, it takes place Monday 13th – Sunday 26th July 2020. The festival will be launching its main programme online on Wednesday 3rd June, with more of the line-up announced 17th June.  We already know there’ll be collaborations with BBC Radio and a very special guest.

This year, events and activities include:

  • Ragas & Rhythms, a live streamed Indian classical music concert
  • Interactive music software, where you can mix your own tracks using samples of Indian music
  • A home cinema experience, screening ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ with wraparound cooking tutorials, playlists and more
  • A programme of online workshops & tutorials, including cookery demonstrations and henna
  • Talks from speakers and collectives such as Two Brown Girls and Leicester Riders in conversation about BAME in sport.
  • Live-streamed performances celebrating the last 10 years of An Indian Summer’s artists – ranging from exemplary pieces from global dance group, Shiamak to musicians from across the UK
  • New musical creations from award winning Bandish Projekt based in Mumbai

This year will also include the launch of An Indian Summer Open: an online exhibition with an opportunity for artists to win a £500 prize. In the absence of a physical exhibition, 15 UK and global artists from visual art backgrounds, such as fine art, print and sculpture, will display their work via a virtual gallery. Get involved at


Despite the unprecedented events of the last two months, Emma Hallam, Founder and Director of local charity Alex’s Wish, says that businesses are still more than happy to help charities close to their heart wherever they can; “I have been literally blown away by some of the ideas and conversations that I’ve had over the last few weeks.  It has made me realise and appreciate just how lucky we are to have the supporters, volunteers, Trustees and Ambassadors that we do. Without them the last couple of months would have been unbearable and our work, which is so time dependant, would have had to stop”.

Trustees Glynis Wright of Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors & Mediators, and Sally Barnett of 2 New Street Chambers took part in the 2.6 Challenge.  Speaking about the Challenge Glynis said; “I thought it would be a great idea to get the whole of my company involved and do something positive during these testing times.  Each member of my team took part and completed their own challenge by doing something 26, 260 or 2,600 times!   Some of the ideas were brilliant and included 26 days of yoyo tricks; 2,600 squats in 26 days; making chapattis 26 times through to writing a poem about being a divorce lawyer in 260 words!  I want to thank my team for their inventiveness and spirit in taking part and am delighted to announce that we’ve raised £2,000 for Alex’s Wish!  This was in addition to the previous £10,500 raised through my presidency of The Leicestershire Law Society.”


Lying in bed with the COVID-19 virus, Leicester author Joe Nixon felt inspired by a TV news story on wild animals venturing into towns and cities during the pandemic lockdown. Now, thanks to an arts publishing partner of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, The Fearless Fox & Daring Deer will be venturing into homes nationally to raise funds for the NHS.

The Fearless Fox & Daring Deer is to be published by WORD! a poetry organisation uniquely co-produced by an NHS Trust, and available via donation. Illustrated by Nottingham-based Ami-Lou Harrison, the rhyming picture book invites children to enjoy the adventures of woodland creatures as they play human games in an empty town.

The book is dedicated to NHS staff, carers and frontline workers, and all of those who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and is available to download by donation at


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


Join the National Space Centre on Facebook and YouTube this Friday at 18:00 for their third (and final) #FamilyMovieNight as they launch the world premiere online of the third instalment in the award winning trilogy.

We Are Astronomers, narrated by David Tennant (best known as the Tenth Doctor), is suitable for the whole family. Discover the global collaboration, technology and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the Universe.

The Family Movie Night will take you on a journey from the big bang to the future of astronomy.  The show lasts 25 minutes and is free to watch.


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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