Edwin Ellis was commissioned by Colmore BID to produce a special digital guide to raise awareness of online and cloud safety during October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

With more people working from home and accessing company networks remotely, cyber security has never been more important.

The BID is working alongside the West Midlands Cyber Security Resilience Centre to raise awareness of potential threats through its social media and with a special digital publication that features tips for home-working, COVID-19 related threats, VPN access and phishing, among other cyber topics.

Colmore BID CEO, Michele Wilby, said: “October marks the launch of Cyber Security Awareness Month and we’re delighted to be partnering with the West Midlands Cyber Security Resilience Centre to inform and educate businesses within the BID on how important it is to protect yourself and your organisation from cyber-attacks.

“According to a recent report, in the UK there is an attempted cyber-attack once every 50 seconds, with this figure only rising with the popularity of working from home schemes, brought about by Covid-19.

“Some of the solutions may seem simple and like common sense, but even these quick fixes can help prevent the devastating and long-term effects of loss or even theft of data.”

The guide is the latest produced by Edwin Ellis for Colmore BID under the ‘Safer Spaces’ brand.

Tap here to read the guide.

We just love seeing our clients make the headlines in print, online and broadcast. So, we had a brainwave; what if we published a magazine featuring ALL our clients in one neat little online publication. Ta dah…

This is the first edition. It’s called Client News (does what it says on the tin) and it shows we’ve been busier than a bee in a tar bucket.

Hope you like browsing through the magazine and if you’re a business looking for a different approach to PR or comms support, please give us a holler.

A lost piece of Birmingham’s retail history has been uncovered during construction work by the Midland Metro Alliance to extend the tramway to the west of Birmingham.

Original Victorian roller shutters, which would have been used to provide security, have surfaced at a shop in Pinfold Street.

The shutters were previously hidden by the shop front of hair salon Supercuts, which was once home to 19th century piano manufacturers Dale, Forty & Co, among others, during that time.

Due to historical interest, the shutters will be preserved and enclosed with a new sign. They are unable to be left exposed as they currently extend under the shop front of an adjacent store. Based on the preservation rulings, the roller shutters do not need to be displayed.

Faded lettering on the Victorian shutter

Steve Grimes, the Midland Metro Alliance’s Project Director for the Birmingham Westside Extension, said: “There is always potential for items of historical importance to be uncovered during construction, and these roller shutters are a fascinating find that provide an interesting glimpse into the history of Birmingham city centre.

“We started construction on the first phase of the extension last year, and the shutters were uncovered during structural repairs to the building, which, due to its age, needed to be carried out prior to the main works. Due to their heritage, the shutters will be staying in place, but will be covered with new fascia.”

Strengthening works will form the next stage of construction in Pinfold Street, with works expected to be completed there in the summer. Supercuts will move back in following a full refurbishment.

Meanwhile, enabling works on phase two of the extension, connecting Centenary Square to Edgbaston, are continuing in Victoria Square and the lower end of Broad Street, where there are a number of traffic management changes to accommodate this.

Find out more about the Metro extension works here.

It goes without saying we’re always happy to see an Edwin Ellis PR client make the front page.

And such was the case for Shirley BID, the proposed Business Improvement District for the Stratford Road corridor, which featured on Page One of the Solihull News March 30 edition.

What makes this piece of coverage particularly important, however, is that is the right audience for the announcement at exactly the right time.

The BID revealed its five-year Business Plan to provide additional services, events and promotion for Shirley town centre and how it would invest the £550,000 generated over its first term if it is successfully implemented in May 2018.

Birmingham Live, the Birmingham Post , Chambers of Commerce covered the announcement on their websites, while the Solihull Observer covered the announcement in its print edition.

This is the press release issued by Edwin Ellis on behalf of Shirley BID:

Five-year Business Plan to secure £550,000 of new investment for Shirley town centre

An ambitious five-year Business Plan to help bring £550,000 of investment into Shirley town centre has been unveiled.

The document has been drawn up by the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) for the Stratford Road corridor and developed through a year-long consultation process with more than 250 local businesses.

A BID is a defined geographical area within which local businesses collaborate to invest in initiatives that improve the environment in which they work. BIDs deliver additional services to those provided by the local authority and the police. Local businesses will get the opportunity to vote for the implementation of the Shirley BID in May 2018.

The Business Plan encompasses those projects which have the greatest potential for improving trade and vibrancy in the town centre and forms the cornerstone of the Shirley BID’s first term between 2018-2023.

According to the Shirley BID Shadow Board, the town centre is not currently performing as well as required in economic terms and needs to ensure it competes more effectively with surrounding centres. Many neighbouring areas already have BIDs and the proposed Shirley BID has the backing of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Shirley BID would be funded by a 1.5% levy on the current rateable value of eligible businesses in the proposed BID area, with small businesses under a rateable value of £7,500 exempt. It has been calculated that for the average business, the cost of the BID levy would be less than £1.35 per day.

Proposals in the five-year Business Plan for 2018-2023 include:

The effectiveness of the Shirley BID Business Plan would be measured by regular surveys, analysis of footfall and sales performance data, plus tracking of vacant unit levels.

Indra Collins, Manager, Nando’s Shirley, said: “Nearby towns are getting stronger so standing still is not an option and the BID will be solely focused on working to achieve the best results for the town and its businesses.”

Sandra Grice, Community Life Champion at ASDA Shirley and Chair of the Shirley BID Shadow Board, said: “Shirley town centre has many strengths, which include its varied retail mix, its leisure offer and the fact that it is a great location, although, as with many other towns, Shirley has suffered at the hands of the economic conditions and the growth of online shopping.

“In recent years, we have seen the creation of BIDs in locations such as Acocks Green, Harborne, Kings Heath, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield and these have resulted in significant investment in those areas.

“A BID for Shirley would see the town centre making similar gains and it is therefore something which the local business community has expressed a strong support for.

“The BID would be business-led and business funded to improve the area.

“The creation of a BID in Shirley would give businesses the power and funding to take action to make significant, targeted and sustained improvements to our town.

“Local businesses have decided what those improvements should be and, through the creation of a BID, would be responsible for ensuring they happen.

“As well as major direct improvements, a BID would also provide access to grantmaking bodies and extra funding opportunities from organisations, such as the council, the chamber of commerce, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the West Midlands Combined Authority.”

To download or read the Shirley BID Business Plan visit www.shirleybid.co.uk

A Chinese New Year dragon dance

Colmore Business District will for the first time be at the heart of Birmingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations in 2018.

The annual event, traditionally held in the Southside and Chinatown area, has grown in popularity and now features music, dance and displays across the city centre between Thursday, February 15, and Sunday, February 18.

Colmore BID is co-sponsoring Chinese New Year in Birmingham and the District will come alive with colour as Colmore Row trees are adorned with red and gold ribbons to help welcome the Year of the Dog.

On Friday, February 16 – the actual date of Chinese New Year – there will be a wide range of performances, lion dancing and food stalls on the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore Row, between 12pm and 2pm.

The celebrations arrive in Birmingham’s business district at midday, with the traditional Chinese lion performing a dance and visiting businesses in the area to ‘wish them good luck’.

The lion symbolises luck, wealth and prosperity and it’s believed that the longer it dances, the more luck and wealth it will bring. Businesses in and around Colmore Row can request a visit by visiting http://colmorebusinessdistrict.com/event/chinese-dragon-visit/

Chung Ying Central

Chung Ying Central will be performing a live cooking demonstration from midday until 2pm in Cathedral Square, showcasing dishes including Korean fried chicken bao, Japanese seafood ramen and a Chinese pork burrito.

Birmingham Cathedral

At 12.45pm, the cathedral will open its doors for a special concert from the Birmingham Conservatoire (1-2pm), alongside a Chinese folk quartet and classical pianist.

Gary Cardin, Chair, Colmore BID, said: “Chinese New Year celebrations are set to be fantastic this year in the District. Colmore BID is supporting a range of activity to celebrate the Chinese New Year – the year of the dog.

“Businesses in the District can get involved in a variety of activities on Friday, February 16, including a lion dance which will bring you good luck and prosperity, and there is a free concert in Birmingham Cathedral featuring music from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

“It is important for Colmore BID to support this cultural activity recognising the importance of Chinese businesses and Chinese inward investment to the city.”

Chinese New Year Birmingham continues on Saturday, February 17 with performances in the Bullring between 12pm and 1pm.

The grand finale is at Southside – and for the first time there will be two stages at the Arcadian and outside the Hippodrome.

There will be a funfair, performances and food stalls from 11.30am to 4.30pm.

The festival welcomes more than 15,000 each year with all events organised by Chinese Festival Committee and jointly managed by Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Hippodrome.

To reserve tickets to the Birmingham Cathedral performance on Friday, February 16; visit: http://colmorebusinessdistrict.com/event/concert-by-royal-birmingham-conservatoire-in-birmingham-cathedral/

Press release issued on behalf of Colmore BID and featured in Birmingham What’s On Live here.

The redesigned Professional Social Work front page and inside pages

 

We were asked to redesign Professional Social Work, the leading magazine for social care in the UK.

The monthly glossy title, which is distributed across the country, is produced by an editorial team based in Birmingham on behalf of BASW, the British Association of Social Workers.

Our brief was to give the magazine a refreshed design and offer suggestions to help the flow of authoritative news articles, in-depth features and better usage of photography.

The magazine’s editor was keen to preserve a strong story and feature count to ensure the title maintains its position as a must-read for social workers.

This was at the forefront of our thinking as we created a series of templates for news and features pages for ease of production in future editions.

Contemporary sans and serif typefaces now complement each other for headlines and body text, with further guidelines on colour usage in page furniture.

Shahid Naqvi, Editor of Professional Social Work magazine, said: “Stacey Barnfield did a fantastic job redesigning our magazine. He was there every step of the way, guiding the process and coming up with ideas that often took us in a new direction while always being responsive to and understanding our needs.

“I really appreciated his calm professionalism, clarity, creative flair and commitment to the project. Post launch, he didn’t just walk away but stayed with us to make sure everything was working well.

“The end result is a product that ticked every box and has been universally praised. I couldn’t recommend Edwin Ellis Creative Media highly enough!”

Winners of the Solihull BID Excellence Awards 2016 Outstanding Team category – recruitment agency Kate & Co

By Stacey Barnfield

Being a Solihull College alumnus it was a genuine privilege to be invited to sit on the judging panel for the annual Solihull BID Excellence Awards.

The awards are a celebration of all the great skills, trainees, customer services and innovation and creativity in Solihull town centre and aim to shine a light on its many different sectors and industries.

I sat alongside HM Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands David Bradnock; EY director Paul Brown; Solihull College principal John Callaghan and Schofield & Associates founder Eileen Schofield.

Businesses large and small and employees young and old compete for recognition in eight categories, all of which will be revealed at a sold-out ceremony on Thursday, November 23, at the St John’s Hotel on Warwick Road.

Solihull’s ability to nurture and keep hold its motivated workers is of critical importance to a borough that takes pride in being recognised as having the highest-skilled workforce in the West Midlands (NatWest report, 2016). From what I’ve seen through the judging process, this should continue for some time.

I’ve been fortunate to sit on numerous judging panels over the years and when you’re asked for feedback, it’s all-too easy to say ‘the standard this year was better than ever’, but, you know what, I can’t think of a more accurate description. It really was tough being a judge!

Keep up the good work, Solihull, and enjoy the praise these and other awards will bring.

Read the shortlist for the Solihull BID Excellence Awards in the Birmingham Post here. Or on the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce website here.

Birmingham International Marathon

Aston mum Shah Begum will be making her marathon debut at the Birmingham International Marathon

The inaugural Birmingham International Marathon will truly live up to its name after organisers revealed dozens of runners from across the world have already signed up to take part.

The 26.2-mile run, which takes place on Sunday, October 15, 2017 – the same day as the popular Great Birmingham Run half marathon – has attracted entries from as far afield as Singapore, the USA, Canada, Cayman Islands and Australia.

Dozens of runners from across Europe will also be heading for the Alexander Stadium start line next autumn, entry data has revealed.

Almost 5,000 people have already signed up to take part, just six weeks after the entry window was opened.

Birmingham is widely regarded as the birthplace of mass participation long-distance running events and the Birmingham International Marathon will cement the city’s position as the European Capital of Running.

The city staged one of the country’s first open-to-all marathons, the People’s Marathon, which ran from 1980-85 and was organised by late Solihull-based elite runner John Walker.

It also promises to be a feather in the cap for Birmingham’s bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Anyone can now sign up for the first Birmingham International Marathon, which will fittingly start at Alexander Stadium, the home of British Athletics

The route will take in iconic city sights like Villa Park, Matthew Boulton College, Selfridges, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and picturesque Cannon Hill Park before finishing at Millennium Point.

The 2017 Birmingham International Marathon will be held on the same day as the Great Birmingham Run but neither course will include ‘the hill’.

Birmingham-born Ian Stewart, one of the world’s leading distance runners between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, said: “I think the fact that Birmingham now has a major International Marathon next year is a fantastic addition to Birmingham’s portfolio of major athletic events. It is also the perfect time of the year for athletes who want to qualify for major games the following year.

“Looking at the amount of entries and interest it has created so far just goes to show that it has been long overdue.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s great that runners from around the world are entering the Birmingham International Marathon, as this highlights our truly international reputation as a sporting city.

“Events like this showcase Birmingham and the wider region to the world, something we hope to do again in 2026, as we prepare to bid to host the Commonwealth Games.”

Sign up for the Birmingham International Marathon at https://www.greatrun.org/birmingham-international-marathon

Entries are now open for the Great Birmingham Run 2017. Sign up at https://www.greatrun.org/great-birmingham-run

Press release issued by Edwin Ellis Creative Media on behalf of the Birmingham International Marathon

Edit Magazine

The November/December 2016 edition of Edit magazine

Hot off the press… the latest edition of Retail BID Birmingham’s Edit magazine is on its way to more than 500 city centre businesses.

This is the sixth edition of the member magazine, published by Edwin Ellis Creative Media on behalf of Retail BID; the Business Improvement District for city centre retail and leisure businesses.

The 32-page edition talks about Retail BID’s successful Ballot Renewal, events for 2017 such as the return of the Weekender arts festival, along with interviews with department store managers and new openings and expansions in the city centre.

For more information about Retail BID click here.

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Birmingham-based Associated Architects has been praised by conservation experts after completing the first phase of refurbishment at the Edward Boyle Library at the University of Leeds.

The practice has been singled out for its ‘deep understanding’ of the building’s special character, attention to detail and appreciation of the original 1975 design concepts throughout the library’s £17 million refurbishment process.

Associated Architects was appointed to design a comprehensive refurbishment of the concrete modernist building that was completed in the mid-1970s and extended in 1996.

Five floors of the 6-storey building are now open to visitors with the remaining study spaces due for completion in January 2017.

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The Edward Boyle Library forms part of a much wider group of listed Brutalist buildings at the University of Leeds designed by Chamberlin, Powell & Bon and constructed in the 1960s and early ’70s.

The restoration of the building not only seeks to provide a state-of-the-art library encompassing a wide variety of different learning environments, but also to enhance and reinforce the original design intent of the building that has either been lost over time or during the original construction process.

Associated Architects liaised directly with the sole remaining partner of Chamberlin, Powell & Bon to compile a comprehensive Statement of Heritage Significance, which helped secure planning permission for the refurbishment works, along with other design details from the original plans.

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Kate Newell, Senior Conservation Officer, Environment and Design Group at Leeds City Council, said: “The Edward Boyle Library refurbishment is an exciting project showing that change can enhance and strengthen the significance of listed buildings if based on a good understanding of special character and significance.

“The Design Team’s informed approach was the foundation for the scheme with the new works inspired by their understanding and appreciation of the original design intent and existing structure.

“Motifs, approaches and opportunities have been informed by this deep understanding and the results have strengthened the significance of the building while updating it to face the challenges of the changing approach to education in the 21st century.

Associated Architects

How Architects’ Journal covered the refurbishment on its website

“The re-presented building delivers a state-of the-art library and once again reveals the design strength and original concepts of the Chamberlin, Powell & Bon campus buildings that are such an asset to the University.”

Associated Architects’ brief was to provide a library of quality appropriate for a research-intensive 21st century university, to increase NSS scores and cater for an increasing student population.

Consolidation of the book collection and use of rolling stack and stores have given scope to improve study space throughout the building, including increasing natural light levels and creating bookable group spaces and individual research studies for postgraduates.

Reimagined stepped study carrels on each floor provide improved learning spaces with new sightlines and external views of the University campus and its artworks, among them a Barbara Hepworth sculpture.

Inside the Edward Boyle Library at the University of Leeds

The top floor of the library has been converted to a dedicated Post Graduate and Research Suite, which will also provide better working facilities for interdisciplinary research groups and visiting scholars.

Extensive reglazing of solid external walls at ground and first floor levels opens up the library visually and increases internal daylighting.

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon followed a sequence modelled on the colours of the rainbow used to denote levels across campus, this colour theme has been reintroduced through its furnishings and finishes, while all interior walls have been repainted with subtle whites and greys.

The energy performance of the building will be significantly improved through new secondary glazing, internally applied insulation and airtightness improvement works.

Using the BREEAM 2014 accreditation methodology the refurbishment is targeting an Excellent rating and is likely to be one of the first under the new standard.

Press release issued by Edwin Ellis Creative Media on behalf of Associated Architects

A Great Western Arcade shop owner has been relishing the return of Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders to BBC2.

That’s because Daisy Nyamie, founder of Peter Forson hats and scarves, knew demand for her Stetson flat caps, as styled by the infamous Shelby family, would go through the roof.

Spring and summer are busy periods for Daisy, who built on her successful online business, www.peterforson.com, by opening the store last October.

With the horse racing and wedding season getting underway, sales of her designer hats and lavish accessories are also set to flourish.

“I usually sell around three or four Peaky Blinders-style caps everyday but with the third series starting in May, they’re even more popular,” said Daisy.

“They sell well because I’m the only retailer in the city that stocks the high-quality Stetson range, which David Beckham wears.

“I was running low and had to order more in time for the show. I must stress that mine come without the razor blades!”

Business has been brisk during Peter Forson’s first seven months of trade, with the store fitting seamlessly into GWA’s array of independent stores, including fashion retailers.

The shop features hand-selected headpieces from high-end designers like Borsalino, Vivienne Westwood, Nerida Fraiman, Maddox and Lara Bohinc.

Daisy also stocks Whiteley hats, the brand of choice for Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

“We’ve built up a strong online presence over the last three years and I couldn’t have asked for anymore since opening our first shop,” added Daisy, who named the store after her mum’s great uncle.

“Attention now starts turning towards the summer, with women considering what to wear at Ascot, other race meetings and weddings.

“This is where our one-off pieces, from UK and international designers, come into their own.

“Women take the fact their hat is unique, that the milliner has only made that one, very seriously.

“The last thing they want is to go to Ascot and bump into someone else wearing the same design.”

This article was written on behalf of Edwin Ellis Creative Media client Retail BID Birmingham