Grosvenor Road Studios hosted the first Birchfield Environment Summit on Wednesday 16th November. Organised by Birchfield Big Local and Birmingham City Council (BCC), the summit brought together residents, Birchfield Residents Action Group (BRAG), Midland Heart, BCC and other local groups and organisations to look at how we can encourage people to take more pride in the environment and reduce waste, litter and fly tipping. Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment gave a key note address and this was followed by presentations and workshops. The day culminated with a Question and Answer session with a panel including representatives from Midland Heart, BRAG, BCC and Big Local.
BRAG chair, Barbara Petris, gave a presentation about the achievements of the Bloom in Birchfield campaign, now in its third year, and including the front garden competition, which is soon to be featured in the RHS “Grassroots” magazine. Street Scene Coordinator, Theresa Tammam, provided an overview of the work across the city in engagement, education, employment and enforcement. Nigel Collumbell, Director of Housing Management at Midland Heart gave a presentation highlighting the numbers of Midland Heart properties in the area and the contribution that Midland Heart can make to help improve the public realm. Kemi Folarin and Abi Issac talked about the Crick Project, a community garden on Crick Lane, Handsworth.
Two videos were also shown of projects supported through the Birchfield Big Local Small Grants Scheme: a project by local social enterprise, Eco Gardening Services, to recycle garden waste as compost and mulch; and a project to promote environmental awareness with young people by the local Mosque – Masjid-e-Nimra and Community Centre.
Workshops covered topics ranging from the role of education; re-using waste; mapping local issues and finding solutions; environment and health; and improving communication between the City Council, residents and other stakeholders.
An action plan is being developed with the aim of coordinating the activities of residents, City Council departments, Midland Heart and other stakeholders to help reduce waste, increase recycling and prevent fly tipping in the Birchfield area.