Category Archives: Children

Smokefree car legislation in force from today

A new law comes into force today (1st October) making it illegal to smoke in vehicles with someone under the age of 18 present. Both the driver and the smoker can be fined.

The reason for this law is protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke.  Every time a child breathes in second-hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals, which put them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
People who break the law could be fined £50.

Stoptober logo
With one less place to smoke, there is one more reason to quit smoking.  You can sign up to Stoptober – the 28 day challenge, also starting today, which supports smokers to stop.  By signing up to Stoptober, you will receive a variety of free and proven support including packs, apps and emails to help you quit for 28 days and beyond.

Face-to-face advice and support can also be obtained from your local Stop Smoking Services in Walsall which are on hand to provide you with tailored advice and tips on how to quit.   You can contact the service on 01922 444 044 and find out where your nearest clinic is at the following link:

At the same time, Walsall Council Public Health is currently supporting the trial of a new approach to help parents quit smoking and to prevent young people from picking up the habit.  The campaign involves working with schools, initially ten secondary schools, to give young people the facts about smoking to create discussions with their parents and carers who want to quit. The programme has already been to Shire Oak Academy, Grace Academy and Elmwood school and will be in a number of schools across the borough this week.
Continue reading Smokefree car legislation in force from today

Gruffalo author to visit Bloxwich on national tour

Bloxwich Library

The Children’s Laureate and author of one of the nation’s most popular modern children’s books, ‘The Gruffalo’, will be making a special visit to Bloxwich Library next week as part of her national tour of libraries.

Julia Donaldson will be visiting the library on Wednesday 10 October.  Bloxwich Library has been chosen from hundreds of applications to be one of only twnety-four libraries on the English and Welsh leg of the Children’s Laureate Libraries Tour this autumn.


Schoolchildren from St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Bloxwich Church of England Primary, Elmore Green Primary and Leamore Primary Schools will be attending the invitation-only event, which will see Julia bringing some of her hugely popular stories to life through special dramatisations.

They will also be showing off their own acting and singing skills during a short performance inspired by children’s literature which they will present to Julia.


From 4pm until 5pm Julia, along with Waterstones Bookshop staff, will also be available for families from across the borough to come and meet her and purchase signed copies of her books.

Tickets for this event are free and will be issued on a first come first served basis please contact Bookmark Bloxwich, Bloxwich Library on  01922 655900 or to reserve your tickets.


As part of her Children’s Laureateship, Julia Donaldson – bestselling author of over 150 books including The Gruffalo, What the Ladybird Heard and Zog – is embarking on a tour of libraries that will take in England, Wales and Scotland, from John O’Groats to Lands’ End, over six weeks, commencing on 10 September in Thurso in the Hebrides and finishing on 18 October in Carlisle. The tour will celebrate libraries as a precious community resource at a time when a great many are threatened with closure.

Councillor Anthony Harris, portfolio holder for leisure and culture with Walsall Council Coalition, said: “The Gruffalo is one of the best selling children’s books of all time and the character is adored by children across the country.

“We are absolutely delighted that author Julia Donaldson is coming to Bloxwich and children and parents are getting the chance to meet her,” he added.

Julia Donaldson said: ‘Libraries are very close to my heart, and so is performance. This tour is my way of bringing the two together, by visiting fantastic libraries all over the country, enjoying children acting and singing, and sharing my own stories with them. I want it to be a huge celebration of libraries and of the benefits they offer to communities and especially to children.”

Julia will be joined on the tour by her musical husband Malcolm – who recently retired from his career as a paediatrician – on stage at the events and on the road in the Laureate Libraries Tour van.

The husband and wife duo, who spent their student summers busking in France, will be celebrating their Ruby wedding anniversary whilst on the tour.

To coincide with the launch of her libraries tour, Julia has also launched a new website for teachers on 10 September to help them to use drama and performance to bring picture books to life in the classroom.

The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field. Former Children’s Laureates include Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen.

Julia Donaldson is the author of over 150 books and plays for children and teenagers, including The Gruffalo (the animation of which was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA), Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Cave Baby, Freddie and the Fairy and What the Ladybird Heard – some of the UK’s best-selling picture books – and the award-winning teenage novel Running on the Cracks. In 2010, Donaldson was the most borrowed children’s author from UK libraries. Her latest books Superworm (Alison Green Books) and The Paper Dolls (Macmillan Children’s Books) will be published in autumn 2012.

Walsall Council panel calls emergency meeting on children at risk

Walsall Council House

The Chair of Walsall’s Children and Young People Scrutiny and Performance Panel, Labour Councillor Barbara Cassidy, has called an emergency meeting to discuss a report which has condemned the council’s Safeguarding Children service.

The extraordinary meeting on 21 August will discuss the findings of a recent Ofsted inspection which, among many issues, criticised Walsall Council for failing to take youngsters known to be at risk into care.

Cllr Cassidy said she had used her authority to call the meeting following the revelations in the report which was published last week.

Explaining her decision in a Walsall Council Labour Group press release, Cllr Cassidy said:

“The scale and depth of the failings indentified by Ofsted are so serious that we simply can’t wait until the end of September and the next full council meeting to begin to tackle these problems.

“I have therefore called this emergency meeting to allow members to assess the true scale of the situation the service faces and begin to formulate a cross-party response to meet the needs of children in council care.

“We don’t have time to spare if we are to get this right.”

Her decision has the full support of Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of the Labour Group on the authority, who said:

“This appalling state of affairs warrants a recall of all elected members for an emergency full council, but the power for that rests with the Tory and Lib Dem coalition leadership.  In the absence of such a move, Cllr Cassidy’s call is showing the urgency and determination we need to address this truly awful situation.”