Music & Drama – Young people’s programme

Do you love music or drama? 

Want to create your own music? Devise a piece of drama? 

Starting in April and leading up to a performance as part of the Birchfield Jazz Festival on JULY 27TH 2019 there will be music and drama sessions for children aged 7 – 10 yrs and 11 – 14 yrs.

Sessions will take place at Grosvenor Road Studios, 16 Grosvenor Road B20 3NP from April to July 2019

For further information please contact: Ifa Yoruba Contemporary Arts Trust – Email:

Birchfield Big Local Team

Volunteer Coordinator Post

Interested in helping people contribute their gifts and skills within the local community? 

Birchfield Big Local is looking for an enthusiastic person to take on the role of Volunteer Coordinator. The post is part time, initially for 12 months.

This key role involves recruiting, nurturing and supporting people to ensure that volunteering is a positive and empowering experience open to everyone.

For further details and how to apply please see – or contact Andrew at Birchfield Big Local on 07421 994752

Secret Garden Team Task

A team from the Careers and Placement Team at Aston University joined us on Monday 18th March for a team task at the Secret Garden.

All the tasks were completed including clearing rubbish to a skip; weeding and replanting the raised beds; cutting back brambles; litter picking; and lots of fence painting! Thanks to Carolina and her team for all their efforts and also to Jimoh Folarin – Eco Gardeners – for providing support on the day. The site is now ready for the Easter break when local children will be able  to enjoy free play and sports activities.

If you would like to help with the regular maintenance of the garden or volunteer on one of the play days, please contact Andrew on 07421 994752.

Creative Civic Change

Together with Welsh House Farm Big Local we have been selected to take part in the Creative Civic Change programme funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Esmee Fairburn Foundation and Local Trust. Creative Civic Change is about resident-led change and responding to issues and opportunities identified by local people. The idea is to approach these priorities in creative ways – from art, design, architecture, to theatre, music, craft, storytelling and more.

Over the past few months a working group from the two Big Local areas has been talking with groups of residents about what matters to them and how arts and creativity might make a difference. We have been supported by artist-facilitator Heather Peak and also photographer Vanley Burke who has been documenting the project.

We organised a screening at the Midland Arts Centre of the Charlie Chaplin movie – Modern Times – for over 50 residents from the two areas. The working group has also had meetings with various arts organisations in Birmingham including the REP Theatre and Friction Arts. We have jointly submitted a programme of activities for the next three years and now await the outcome. The programme is to be launched between 13th – 19th May.

Thanks to Vanley Burke for the photographs

Food Meals Green Papaya Salad

Volunteers wanted for new Meet & Eat Lunch Club @ St Mary’s

We are seeking open-minded, sympathetic and friendly volunteers for our new venture, The Meet & Eat Lunch Club @ St Mary’s, to be launched soon.

The project (developed by volunteer co-ordinator, Tippa Naphtali) will be delivered in collaboration with Access to Heritage Art and Culture (ATHAC), St Mary’s Church Hall and others. Volunteers would act in the role of serving, hospitality and support at the sessions.

The Service Summary:

The proposed Meet & Eat sessions are essentially an extension of Birchfield Big Local’s (BBL) Elders Programme (working collaboratively with others) but the sessions would also be open to any local residents regardless of age.

We feel that this level of integration is important for several reasons:

  • Loneliness and isolation, whilst often prevalent within older members of the community, is not exclusive to this group

  • There is something very important about opportunities for inter-generational and cross-cultural integration which can only assist community cohesion and relations

  • Building better relations across the age, culture and race spectrum is at the heart of BBL’s mission

  • The Meet & Eat initiative will help BBL and involved third parties to identify what local people feel is important to them in terms of critical service provision, whilst also providing a valuable and much-needed local service

As the project develops, some of the additional activities will include:

  • Health & wellbeing talks, workshops or external visits delivered or hosted by third party organisations or practitioners

  • Arts and creative sessions (e.g. tie dye, t-shirt printing, visits to exhibitions, museums and recreational grounds etc)

  • Healthy eating and taster sessions encouraging participants to think about what they eat and the impact on their physical health

  • Incorporating BBL annual Christmas meal and choir events as an integral part of the activities of the Elders Group

To express an interest please contact:
Andrew Simons (community development worker)
Mobile – 07421 994752
Email –

Training will be provided as part of the volunteer selection process.

Birchfield Big Local is run by local people with the goal of helping all members of the community. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Article Image Credit : mapichai at

Gang member

Facing up to the challenge of violence and gangs

source: The Guardian
published: 17 March 2019

Sally Weale shines a light on the British Red Cross initiative Life Not Knife (‘It’s about confidence’: pupils learn how to cope with attacks). While training teenagers in self-defence and first aid is to be welcomed, much more is needed, and this crisis cannot be left to charity.

In education, we need to start younger too. In some areas, there are huge pressures on children to be drawn into gangs. Many parents speak of this as a nightmare. What assistance should be given to primary school staff and parents to feel confident in opening up these conversations with 10- and 11-year-olds? Can we help children recognise the signs of grooming and build a culture of resistance to the temptations of initially “easy” money?

In 2000, the death of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor led me to research the lure of gangs for my novel Web of Lies. An 11-year-old London schoolboy later wrote to me that “the similarities between the lives of Femi [the main character] and myself left me wondering.

Wondering how two people can be so similar, wondering how you know so much what young boys are going through”. His strong identification with my Femi was troubling, yet also pointed to the potential for stories to open a “safe” space for discussion and debate. Other writers for young people have also written about the challenges of violence and gangs.

Read full article >

Article Image Credit : joetherasakdhi at