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Women & Theatre will be joining forces with Birmingham’s oldest charity, The Birmingham Settlement on 29th February to perform a unique piece of community theatre full of fantastic stories and tips, all designed to help people make their money go further.

As a charity, debt management is something at the very core of The Birmingham Settlement, so the 29th is planned as an Open Day, featuring money surgeries and advice, as well as a chance for potential volunteers to visit and find out more about the charity’s work. It will then culminate in the performance, entitled ‘Make, Do & Mend.’

Make, Do & Mend is a project Women & Theatre have been developing across Birmingham over the last 5 months. The company has been researching with a variety of community groups to understand the issues people face, and collect advice and information to resolve any problems.

They have had informal sessions and conversations, as well as running a series of intergenerational workshops to develop the project. The performances have been designed so that community members can join the company in the morning to be ‘rehearsed into’ the performance to share with audiences in the afternoon. This will create an exciting mix of professional and community performers – a participation technique Women & Theatre have delivered successfully a number of times.

Terina Talbot, Women & Theatre’s Associate Director said; “We’ve been working for several months with community members, and it’s looking very exciting. With stories and songs, and contributions from all generations, ultimately, it’s a feel-good piece of theatre that everyone can enjoy. So if anybody wants to get involved, or needs debt advice, or simply a good afternoon out – we’d encourage them to get in touch.”

All activities will be happening from 11am at the Centre for the Aston Family, 359-361Witton Road, B6 6NS. For more information on The Birmingham Settlement, or to book free tickets to the performance (which starts at 1.15pm) call 0121 250 0777 or email

A ground-breaking new initiative from Mereway Kitchens that will enable independent retail partners to go ‘head-to-head’ with the likes of B&Q and Howdens is to be unveiled at KBB.

The new Trend Interiors range has been designed for those aspiring to the ‘look’ in terms of quality and style, but with an affordable price tag, opening up a new potential customer base for Mereway and for its specialist retailer network.

However, according to Sales & Marketing Director Graham Jones, the most exciting aspect of the new range is that it embraces the rapidly growing internet channel, with leads and even orders driven directly to the retail network.

“Mereway has adopted new technology and invested substantially both in developing a distinctive new brand for Trend Interiors and in building an interactive, buy online website. Consumers can browse through the kitchens and review the range content and, then either order a brochure ,submit an order online or request assistance with design and planning. In each case, the lead or order is sent directly to a trend partner retailer. We believe this is a real innovation in the industry and will enable us to compete in a market which until now has been dominated by the the large chain store retailers. With Trend Interiors, we can provide customers with the convenience of online shopping and competitive prices, but with the added support and service of a network of experienced kitchen specialists,” he says.

Retail partners will also be offered the opportunity to invest in a Trend Interiors e store, which will be pre-populated, maintained and updated with data automatically and retailers will also have the option to upload other products and ranges to the site should they wish. This will enable customers with orders and enquiries to be directly hyperlinked to individual retailers from the main Trend Interiors website.

“There has already been a strongly positive response to this initiative from our retailers,” Graham Jones confirms. “We have invested in the brand development, website and a range of marketing collateral from brochures to advertisements, flyers and posters for Trend Interiors – all the hard work has been done, we have embraced enabling our retailers to take full and immediate advantage of this exciting new e-tailing opportunity.”
Visitors to KBB will be able to view the new Trend product offer which includes exciting additions from a traditional painted look through to a highly contemporary gloss white handleless look.

Mereway will also be launching some exciting new additions into the Cucina Colore collection during the spring and selected prospects and existing partners will be invited by VIP invitation for a preview at the Mereway showroom which is a short distance from the NEC. Mereway has arranged courtesy transport between the NEC and the showroom between 1.00 pm and 6.00 pm on the 4th-7th March. Mereway sales staff will be on hand to greet visitors with refreshments and provide a guided tour around the showroom.

Graham Jones adds, “This is the start of an exciting year for both the Mereway and Trend brands which will see significant new additions to the offer in the coming months.”

Trend Interiors will be on in hall 19 stand no K92.


Editor’s note:

Mereway Kitchens have an extensive network of outlets nationwide. All furniture is made to order and supplied rigid using traditional glue and dowel methods and carries a 10 year guarantee. Mereway Kitchens cabinets are available complete with doors in a choice of over 70 finishes. These finishes include; MFC, foil wrapped, veneer, solid wood and painted finishes in slab, shaker and curved door styles. Mereway Kitchens offer robust, quality 19mm rigid carcasses with 8mm solid backs in an extensive range of colour and finish options across their three collections for complete colour co-ordinated interior and exterior units. All cabinets contain high quality internal mechanisms and are available in a large range of sizes including reduced depth.

The furniture is sold through independent retailers under brands; Wentworth Kitchens the core range, Cucina Colore an Italian inspired contemporary collection and English Revival, a hand finished in-frame range with a traditional style.

Leading West Midlands based contracting group Shaylor has completed work on the new Life After Stroke Centre in Bromsgrove – a unique facility designed to help people throughout the Midlands regain their independence after a stroke. It also provides a permanent base for some of The Stroke Association’s key national and regional functions.

This facility is the first of its kind in the UK and Shaylor Special Projects – which specialises in short-term new build and refurbishment construction-based contracts – has refurbished the building to ensure it is fully accessible for people with disabilities.

“The Centre will make a huge and positive impact on the journey of recovery and beyond for stroke survivors, providing a space where they can relearn old skills and develop new ones. We’ll bring together professionals, volunteers, care workers, stroke survivors and their families to share best practice, experience and knowledge,” says Lyn Dunkley, head of facilities at The Stroke Association.

Almost 10,000 stroke survivors are expected to benefit from the Life After Stroke Centre. In the first year of operation the charity hopes to train an additional 600 professionals and an extra 450 volunteers to work directly with stroke survivors.

The £2.2million Stroke facility provides a Resource Centre with reference and educational materials plus open access PCs, training and therapy rooms and an IT training suite. Gallery space to display stroke survivors’ art projects is located on the mezzanine floor overlooking the main reception area and there is on-site parking for more than 30 cars.

In addition to delivering key services for stroke survivors across the Midlands, the Life After Stroke Centre provides training facilities so that professionals, volunteers and care workers throughout the UK can join with stroke survivors and their families to share the latest thinking, experience and best practice.

The Stroke Association has provided community-based support services for people affected by stroke for 20 years and this new regional hub will house the charity’s regional fundraising arm, the Stroke Information Service (incorporating the national Stroke Helpline) and the UK Stroke Forum.

More information about the Life After Stroke Centre can be found at



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