John Spellar MP

Member of Parliament for Warley


Recent Activity

As the nation marks the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, John Spellar MP urges Sandwell to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the stories of the First World War.


Following the phenomenal success of its community grants programme First World War: then and now, HLF has made an additional £4 million available for communities looking to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War. Grants are available between £3,000 and £10,000.


Thanks to National Lottery funding, thousands of young people and communities throughout the UK have already been involved in activities marking the Centenary such as: researching and recording local heritage; conserving and finding out more about war memorials; and using digital technology to share the fascinating stories they uncover.  This new money will help even more people get involved to explore a greater range of stories including those surrounding the Somme campaign, which lasted from July to November 1916.


John Spellar MP said: “These projects and stories have been an inspiration.  It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on.  There is still time to apply for National Lottery money and I would urge anyone in Sandwell with an idea for their own project to get in touch with HLF.” 


Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the HLF, said: “The demand for National Lottery funding for First World War projects has been phenomenal, so much so we’ve decided to make extra money available. This will mean everyone, in particular more young people, can explore the momentous events of a war that shaped our nation, Europe and the world. This year marks the Centenary of the Battle of Somme and if groups want support for projects examining its impact do think about applying now.”


The Battle of the Somme lasted for 141 days, ending on 18 November 1916.

There are now 1,520 First World War projects taking place across the UK, thanks to more than £77million of investment from HLF.


Projects already underway show the breadth and scale of First World War stories being explored and shared across the country:


  • Local people from Tottenham and Walthamstow in London showed how they have been exploring their family history to see if any of their relatives fought in the war;


  • Young people from North Tyneside demonstrated how they have been using social media to retell the stories of local soldiers; and


  • Young women in Birmingham shared what they have been uncovering about the experiences of women who worked in factories during the conflict in particular the Birmingham Small Arms factory in Small Heath.


More information on how to apply for HLF funding is available at

John Spellar MP urges Sandwell to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the stories of the First World War

As the nation marks the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, John Spellar MP urges Sandwell to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the stories of the...


All this week, betting shops in the Warley area will be participating in ‘Gamble Aware Week’, which will include the launch of new mandatory alerts on the amount of money someone has spent or time they have played on an electronic gaming machine.

Throughout the week, the windows in Warley’s betting shops will be taken over with Gamble Aware Week posters, highlighting the message “Never bet more than you can afford to lose” with clear advice to all punters:

  • Set a limit and stick to it
  • Take regular breaks
  • Speak to a member of staff if you need advice.


The posters and in-shop leaflets also include details of the Gamble Aware website and helpline for those concerned about their gambling and seeking help.

New mandatory alerts for gaming machine players on what they are spending and the time they are playing for have also been introduced.

From this week, alerts will appear on screen after someone has spent £150 or played for 20 minutes.

This compares to the £250 and 30 minute alerts previously in place.

Malcolm George, Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers said:

“We are really pleased to launch this year’s Gamble Aware Week, which emphasises the importance the bookmaking industry places on encouraging our customers to bet safely and responsibly.

Betting shops offer the safest place to gamble. We want all our customers to enjoy their leisure time in our shops and our clear advice will help them do that.

All of our staff working in the Warley area are committed to putting responsible gambling at the heart of all we do.

The introduction of the new mandatory alerts on gaming machines are an important part of our wider responsible gambling agenda and will help customers to monitor and balance their leisure experience.

The new alerts are on top of the existing options for all players to set their own limits on spend and time on gaming machines and taken together are a major step forward in our commitment to responsible gambling.”

The Member of Parliament for Warley, John Spellar, said:

“I welcome Gamble Aware Week as a positive demonstration made by betting shops of their commitment to responsible gambling. Whilst a majority of people enjoy their gambling as a pleasurable pastime, it is important that those who struggle to manage their gambling behaviour are aware of the support services available and use them”. 

John Spellar MP welcomes Gamble Aware Week in Warley


In Sandwell, 50,662 people are living with the devastating impact of back pain.

That’s the shocking truth highlighted by new statistics released today by charity Arthritis Research UK and local MP John Spellar.

The statistics were released alongside the launch of a new report from charity Arthritis Research UK, called ‘Working with arthritis’, which looks at solutions to give people living in daily pain the support they need to find and stay in work.

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions like back pain affect one in six of us. Just 60% of working age people living with the condition are currently in work.

These conditions can cause extreme pain, stiffness and fatigue that can make every day work tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and typing very difficult.

Now Arthritis Champion MP John Spellar (pictured at the Arthritis Research UK report launch) has pledged to join forces with Arthritis Research UK to fight for better support to enable people with arthritis to find and stay in work.

At last year’s election, the MP became an ‘Arthritis Champion’ for local people, backing Arthritis Research UK’s ‘Prevent, Transform, Cure’ manifesto.

Commenting on the statistics, John Spellar said:

“It’s clear how enormous the impact of conditions like back pain and arthritis is on our local communities. 50,662 residents are living with back pain in Sandwell right now – a staggering 16.27% of local people.

“The ability to work is something that we often take for granted, but I’ve learnt today that for those living with arthritis this can be an incredibly difficult task. Undoubtedly thousands of local people with arthritis want to work, but do not always have the necessary support to be able to do so.

“That’s why I’m delighted to welcome Arthritis Research UK’s ‘Working with arthritis’ report, putting this vital issue on the map. We must work together to ensure people with arthritis who are able to work have the right support and employment opportunities.”


Olivia Belle, director of external affairs at Arthritis Research UK, commented:

“I’m delighted that Sandwell’s Arthritis Champion John Spellar is joining us on this mission to give people with arthritis the right support and opportunities to work, enabling them to live their life to the full.

“The current situation for people living with the daily pain of arthritis is untenable. Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain are the number one cause for workplace sickness absence in the UK, and it’s only going to get worse.

“Our retirement age has increased and we’re an ageing working population, so even more people are going to be living with the pain and unpredictability of arthritis, and face an uncertain working future.

“But with the right kind of support and job; work can benefit your mental and physical health as well as financial position.

“We now urgently need to see political action to address the employment needs of people with long term conditions such as arthritis.”

To find out more about working when you are living with arthritis please visit our website at

50,662 in Sandwell living with back pain, says John Spellar MP

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