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Ambulance service wants more paramedics to return

Registered paramedics in the region are being asked to return to work to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is asking any who may have retired in the last two years, any who are working privately, or who may have been on a career break, to get in touch.


WMAS has already recruited a number of former staff and is promoting hundreds of medical students to help as well.

Volunteers provide pen pals and transport services

Earlier, we told you about Amanda Lowe's campaign to get volunteers to help with sewing scrubs and wash bags for NHS staff.

Elsewhere, people have been telling BBC local radio about how they are trying to Make a Difference:

  • Charity Omega, based in Shrewsbury, is asking for donations of stamps and envelopes to help its pen pal programme. Anyone who can help should post them to Omega, London House, Town Walls, Shrewsbury SY1 1TX.

Envelopes and letter box
  • The Portland Inn Project, in Stoke-on-Trent, has created weekly craft and activity packs for kids and families.
  • A beauty college in Leek is sharing home care tips on Facebook.
  • Droitwich Spa CVS support group is offering to help residents and is currently trying to leaflet every house. It is also continuing its community transport service.

Sixty ambulance call staff start work

Dozens of new staff have started work today answering emergency calls for West Midlands Ambulance Service.


The organisation has said it was substantially increasing staff numbers in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The service, which has three call centres based in Brierley Hill and Stafford, said 60 new call assessors had started work today.

Five maintenance staff have also been recruited to make sure ambulances and other vehicles are kept in roadworthy condition.

Gloucestershire company making vital ventilators

Getty Images

A Gloucestershire engineering company is helping to design and manufacture thousands of vital medical ventilators for hospitals.

Renishaw, in Wotton-under-Edge, is part of a group of businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors to come together to work on the project.

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the government for more than 10,000 ventilators and production will start this week.

Renishaw, which also has sites in Stone, Staffordshire and Miskin, Wales, is part of the The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium, which also includes Airbus, Rolls Royce and several UK-based Formula One teams.

“I am proud that Renishaw is part of a consortium that will be supplying ventilators to the UK’s National Health Service as part of a global effort to increase the supply of this vital equipment," said its chief executive Will Lee.

Police told to look out for criminals exploiting crisis

Staffordshire Police officers have been told to be on the lookout for people using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to carry out crimes.

Chief Constable Gareth Morgan
Staffordshire Police

In a message to his team, Ch Con Gareth Morgan said scams exploiting the crisis had increased and "we need to be relentless in pursuing those who would use this crisis for their own gain".

He added there were also concerns about the impact on the isolated and vulnerable - particularly in domestic abuse and child exploitation.

University donates medical equipment from labs

Keele University is giving personal protective equipment to Royal Stoke Hospital and local GPs to help boost their supplies.

It says kit from its research and teaching labs including gloves, aprons, visors and masks, is going to those working to treat coronavirus patients.

Keele University

The university said 17 doctors' surgeries across north Staffordshire have had deliveries of the equipment this week.

It hopes to eventually offer it to charities and schools caring for the children of key workers.

Ambulance: ‘Don’t call 999 for a check-over’

West Midlands Ambulance Service has reminded people that they shouldn’t call 999 for a coronavirus “check-over” if they can’t get through to the 111 NHS phone line.

It’s also tweeted this advice on how to cope with the stress of being stuck at home.

View more on twitter

Children 'being brave' on last day of school

Children are enjoying their last day at school for the foreseeable future and if they close until September, some may not return to the same one.

At St Nicholas CE First School in Codsall, South Staffordshire, pupils were told they did not need to wear uniform and were encouraged to dress in bright colours.

Children enjoying their last day at school
St Nicholas CE First School

Head teacher Jodie Parker said: "Our children are being brave and positive about the thought of remote learning and the school is looking at how it can maintain good communication and contact with the community during this time apart."

Miss Parker said staff felt "naturally sad" that today may be the last day for some but that they would be invited to a school reunion in September.

Weather: Light rain forecast

Most of us are forecast light rain throughout today, with temperatures up to around 10C (50F).

Tomorrow is expected to be overcast, but dry.

Rain in Birmingham

Watch: Air ambulance charity looks to funding alternatives

BBC Midlands Today

The Midlands Air Ambulance charity has said it is preparing to close its shops and is looking at alternative ways to raise money.

It's also had to call off its Bike For Life event next month and its Walk For Life in May and said a number of charity staff were having to stay at home in isolation.

The air ambulance needs £9m a year to keep its fleet of three helicopters and two cars running and Hannah Sebright, the charity's chief executive, said they were encouraging people to donate online.

The Midlands Air Ambulance is looking for other forms of funding

Series to go on patrol with Hanley police officers

The first of a three-part series featuring officers from Staffordshire Police begins on BBC Two at 21:00.

"Cops Like Us" was filmed over six months and follows officers from the response team based in Hanley police station.

Officers taking part said they hope the public will see the human face of policing.

A three-part series is featuring officers from Staffordshire Police

JCB worker tests positive in 'worrying development'

Construction company JCB has confirmed one of its UK-based employees has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently being treated in hospital.


In an email to all staff the Staffordshire-based company's CEO, Graeme Macdonald, described it as a "worrying development".

He said all necessary steps are being taken to provide support to those who worked closely with the individual concerned.

A Rocester-based JCB employee has contracted coronavirus and is currently being cared for in hospital. This is obviously very difficult news for the employee and family and friends. Following the press conference chaired by the Prime Minister yesterday, JCB is assessing how it might best respond to the new guidance, particularly in relation to home working.

Statement from JCB

Your weather forecast: Dry and cloudy night

BBC Weather

It will be a largely dry night with some cloud and lows of 3C (37F).

BBC Weather Watchers/guayosphotography

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Man charged with raping girl and woman

A man has been charged with sexual offences against women and girls.

Wesley Streete, of no fixed address, appeared at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Saturday charged with the rape of a child, rape of a woman, sexual activity with a girl and three counts of sexual assault.

He's next due to appear at Stafford Crown Court on 17 April.

Coronavirus: Online communities helping each other

Online community groups have been set up across the West Midlands to help look after the vulnerable and those self-isolating because of coronavirus.


People who contact the group will be put in contact with someone who can help with food shopping, picking up prescriptions, or even take a dog for a walk.

Anna Vickerstaff, one of the coordinators of the national network said: “Groups are being set up and run entirely by volunteers - and our hope is that they can help to make sure people who need support get it."

"We want to make sure that no one in our communities is being left to face this crisis alone, and because we want to try and redress some of the serious inequalities this outbreak will expose."

A full list of groups can be found here.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It will be a fine and dry day with light winds and highs of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

BreakingLocal and mayoral elections called off

The mayoral and local elections in England postponed for one year due to coronavirus outbreak, it has just been announced.

There were due to be 12 council elections in May, plus the election to choose a mayor for the West Midlands.

Ballot box

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections have also been postponed.

Your weather forecast: A dry clear night

BBC Weather

Any showers should die away leaving a mostly dry night with clear spells and lows of 2C (36F).

BBC Weather Watchers/Mikesnapper

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

New anti-stalking legislation used for first time by force

New legislation designed to stop stalkers has been used for the first time in Staffordshire.

The county's police force said it had applied to the courts to impose the order on a 36-year-old man who is under investigation at this stage.

Staffordshire Police car
Staffordshire Police

It said the order "imposes conditions on prohibiting contact with a woman he repeatedly sent unwanted text messages to, contacted her on social media and threatened with violence.

And it added: "He also fitted a tracking device to her car and used an app on his phone to monitor her movements."

The Stalking Protection Act 2019 was introduced on 20 January to protect potential victims while a case is being investigated and a breach can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 12 months.

Murder re-investigation examines more than 4,600 documents

Detectives re-investigating the 2002 murder of Kevin Nunes in Pattingham, Staffordshire, have looked at 4.655 documents from the original inquiry and re-interviewed a number of witnesses.

Mr Nunes died of gunshot wounds, but five men who were jailed for the murder were later cleared after an appeal and serious concerns were raised about the original investigation.

Kevin Nunes
Staffordshire Police

Staffordshier Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan started this review in March 2019 and said it was still ongoing, adding he was "satisfied with how it is progressing".

Weather: Mainly dry for next 24 hours

BBC Weather

A cloudy start to tonight, but there'll be some clear spells later and a chance of showers early tomorrow. Low: 2C (36F).


Bright or sunny spells tomorrow and mainly dry with again just the chance of the odd shower. High: 9C (48F).

Get the latest forecast from the BBC Weather website.

Sunny spells but keep a brolly handy

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Long, bright, sunny spells for much of today with a small chance of a shower. Feeling mild and breezy with a high of 12C/54F.

Rich Davis

Cloudy this evening followed by some clear spells overnight and again the chance of a shower in the early hours of tomorrow. Low: 3C/37F.

Stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Your weather forecast: Cloudy night ahead

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy night with the odd spot of rain and lows of 4C (39F).

Parsley the cat
BBC Weather Watchers / ToadHall2

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

A wet morning will become dryer with some bright spells and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Coronavirus: School closes after staff member tests positive

Six cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across Coventry and Warwickshire, government figures show.

One patient is being treated at Coventry's University Hospital.

The risk to the general public "remains low," Lilz Gaulton, the city council's director of public health said.

Coronavirus - what you need to do

A school in Staffordshire has shut after a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

There are now four cases confirmed in the county.

St Gabriel's Catholic Primary and Pre-School in Tamworth says it'll be carrying out a thorough clean of the building.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Council has confirmed the city's first positive case.

The authority said it was in the process of contacting people who had been in close contact with the patient.

Flood warnings removed across West Midlands

Allen Cook

BBC News

There are now no flood warnings in the West Midlands, after three weeks of serious flooding.

Today's flood map
Environment Agency

Just five flood alerts, the lowest class of warning, remain and are dotted across Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

In those cases, the Environment Agency says river levels are still high but steady or falling.

Three storms in quick succession from early February saw dozens of homes flooded and people rescued across the region.

Flooding in Ironbridge last month
Getty Images

Video: your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry day with some bright spells and highs of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Frosty night followed by Friday showers

BBC Weather

Any showers should ease tonight, with clouds breaking up to leave clear skies. A widespread frost is expected. Low: -2C/28F.

Flowers in Bromyard
Postman Les

Things will start off dry and sunny tomorrow before turning cloudy with a band of showers forecast in the afternoon. High: 9C/48F.

You can keep up to date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Two coronavirus cases confirmed in Staffordshire

Staffordshire's first cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 have been confirmed this afternoon by Public Health England (PHE) and Staffordshire County Council.

Two residents are infected although the authorities haven't revealed how they got the virus.

PHE says it's contacted people who've been in close contact with the pair and adds "there is no significant risk to anyone else".

Philip Atkins, leader of the local authority, said: “As a county council we are working closely with our partners to monitor and manage any emerging risk and are encouraging everyone to play their part by following NHS advice to help reduce the risk of spreading where possible."

Adding for the majority of residents it was "business as usual", Richard Harling, the council’s director of health and care, said: "These new cases of coronavirus are nothing unexpected. We fully anticipate an increase in numbers which is why our services have planned for, and are ready, for this situation."

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a cloudy day with a few bright spells and highs of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Might need an umbrella later

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Sunny start to Wednesday before turning cloudy with a chance of rain later on. High: 7C/45F.

Sara Blizzard

Then a wet start to the night which should gradually clear during the early hours. Low: 2C/36F.

Get a latest forecast at any other time from the BBC Weather website.

Your weather forecast: A chilly night ahead with more rain

It will be a clear and dry night which will feel chilly with lows of -1C (30F).

BBC Weather Watchers / Sky High

Tomorrow, bands of rain will spread in from the southwest through the morning and into the afternoon.

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Are we expecting more rain?

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It will be a chilly day with some showers along with the chance of hail, sleet and snow with highs of just 7C (45F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Weather: Clear spells and showers ahead

BBC Weather

There's better news ahead on the weather front for the West Midlands, although more showers are forecast across the next 24 hours.

Sun setting over flooded Buildwas this evening
Georgina Eley

Overall tonight, there are set to be clear spells mixed with scattered showers.

Then tomorrow, there'll still be some showers but they'll be mixed in with bright spells and it'll be breezy.

Get a forecast at any time from the BBC Weather website.