Focus Birmingham commemorates Terry Milverton

Terry Milverton, a volunteer for Focus Birmingham since 2011, sadly passed away on November 30th at 10.15pm. He will be remembered by many at Focus Birmingham for being an exceptional volunteer who was always very giving not only with his time but his heart too.

Terry volunteered in Pat James’s community coffee morning groups and enjoyed getting involved with the group and supporting her. His confidence grew over the years as he interacted more and more with service users and went on to offer 121 volunteering by visiting service user’s in their own home. He would support them with shopping, making them drinks and even taking one service user on a walk every Wednesday afternoon after he had finished at the coffee morning.

Two years ago Terry won the Volunteer of the Year award and he was so thrilled. His devotion to his volunteering will be remembered in our hearts forever.

Pat James, Focus Birmingham Community Support worker, added, ‘Terry was a respected and loved member of my group and there have been lots of tears shed this week at his passing – I for one, will miss his ‘dry’ sense of humour and invaluable support and friendship.’

The funeral will take place on Friday 18th December at 11am at the Kings Norton Cemetery, Longdales Road, B38 9BU.  

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Important Birmingham Bus Service Changes

A number of Birmingham Bus Service routes are changing from Sunday 15th November as a result of the Paradise Circus development work. This means buses won't be able to reach Broad Street from Great Charles Street. They have set up new routes from the city centre for Harborne and Hagley Road services. This also means new timetables and some route changes away from the city centre.

This will affect a number of bus service routes from Colmore Row and the Town Hall where buses would bring some of our service users directly outside the Queen Alexandra College (QAC). This route will be changed and if you would like more information please click here

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Colmore Plodders take on Big Bold Challenge

Telecommunication company Vodafone is encouraging its employees to take part in a fundraising event in September as part of its ‘Big Bold Challenge’. It is suggesting that they run, walk or cycle to the Olympic Park in London from their offices in Newbury and Paddington. The aim is to complete a collective 20,000 miles on Friday 25th September. Employees can choose from events ranging from a scenic walk to a decathlon.

Three employees Gary Lennox, John Round and Gerard Gatens have chosen Focus Birmingham as the charity they want to benefit from their fundraising, they will be taking on a 1.5km swim, 10km run and a 40km bike ride next month. Vodafone are asking them to raise at least £100 each for their charity which the company will then match the funds raised up to £350 per employee. Team Colmore Plodders, the name they’ve chosen, will be supporting Focus Birmingham as it’s a cause close to them, Gary Lennox said “I’m supporting Focus Birmingham because of the essential work it does for people like my daughter. My daughter’s life is richer and fuller thanks to Focus Birmingham.”

Jasmin Rana, Marketing and Fundraising Manager for Focus Birmingham, said: “We are incredibly grateful to team Colmore Plodders for their commitment to our charity. The funds raised will allow us to continue supporting our service users and will make a real difference to our community.”

Focus Birmingham wishes Gary, John and Gerard the best of luck on their challenge day. If you would like to support team Colmore Plodders please visit their JustGiving page by clicking here

If you feel inspired by Gary's story and would like to take part in a fundraising event please visit our fundraising events page or create your own fundraising event and we will be happy to provide you with all the support you need.

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A Tribute to Patron John Martin Hull

It is very sad news that Focus Birmingham's Patron of many year John Hull died on Tuesday 28 July 2015, three months after celebrating his eightieth birthday with family and friends.

John was Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at the Queen’s Foundation Birmingham and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham.

In addition John, who experienced sight problems from childhood and lost his vision completely in early middle age, became a renowned author on the experience of blindness.

In particular ‘Touching the Rock,’ which was based on his own diaries, was a huge success. Since coming out in 1990 the book has been published in more than a dozen foreign languages and made into a short film.

Tom Harrison, CEO of Focus Birmingham, said 'John was always very supportive of Focus Birmingham and the work we do and we are very proud of our association with him. John showed that sight loss need not be a barrier to achieving your goals and discussions with him were always thought-provoking. Above all though, he was a lovely, down-to-earth bloke who will be very much missed by his colleagues here at Focus Birmingham.'

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Unveiling of the Technology & Contrast Suite

Focus Birmingham unveiled the new Technology and Contrast Suite Funded by Yorkshire Building Society

Yorkshire Building Society pledged the donation during its 150th anniversary year and Focus Birmingham was one of 15 chosen by members of the public to receive a £10,000 cash boost from the donation.

In total, more than 600 charities applied to the Society’s Lasting Legacy Fund before 30 were put forward for a public vote.

Focus Birmingham, which provides specialist support and advice to the visually impaired, has used the £10,000 to produce a contrast and technology suite to be able to demonstrate the important use of lighting, space and contrast to enable visually impaired people to live more independently and safely at home.

Jasmin Rana, Marketing and Fundraising Manager for Focus Birmingham, said: “We were thrilled that our project was chosen to be funded as part of the Yorkshire Building Society Lasting Legacy Fund. The new suite is a great addition to our facilities for all our service users and allows us to offer more opportunities for them and will make a real difference to our community.”

The Technology and Contrast Suite is to create a room to highlight and show positive messages with regard to the benefits of good lighting design. The lighting is adaptable to be able to show service users a range of differing types of illumination systems to assess their relative merits. This is to sit alongside a demonstration of assistive technology to highlight the ways IT can improve access to print and other information.

Joshua Watchorn, Manager at the Birmingham branch of Yorkshire Building Society, said: “We were delighted to be able to support the Focus Birmingham project and it was an honour to be invited to the opening of the new suite. It was great to see the benefits the new room will bring to the charity. On my visit I also had the chance to present them with their Lasting Legacy Fund award and myself and colleagues are planning to volunteer our time later in the year to give further support to such a worthy organisation.”

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Claire's walking adventure in the Netherlands

Claire Bissell is walking 200km in four days fundraising money for Focus Birmingham, as part of the Vierdaagse (Four Day Marches). The Four Days Marches have a different route each day; through the landscapes of Dutch provinces of Gelderland, Brabant and Limburg, through the city of Nijmegen and its outskirts. Every walking day revolves around a different town in the vicinity of Nijmegen. The first day is otherwise called the day of Elst, the second day the day of Wijchen, the third the day of Groesbeek and finally the fourth day the day of Cuijk.

Claire Bissell is delighted to be raising money for Focus Birmingham. She went on to say, ' I feel honoured to have a place on the legendary walk and to be able to raise money for a charity from my hometown. This wonderful charity is very close to my heart as they provided great support for my visually impaired sister whilst she was growing up.'

Focus Birmingham wish Claire the best of luck on her 4 day walking challenge. If you would like to support Claire please visit her JustGiving page by clicking here.

If you feel inspired by Claire's Story and would like to take part in a fundraising event please visit our fundraising events page or create your own fundraising event and we will be happy to provide you with all the support you need.

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