Launch of Creative Civic Change

Birchfield Big Local and Welsh House Farm Big Local celebrated the launch of the Creative Civic Change project at Church Vale, Handsworth, on Sunday 19th May.

Thanks to Birmingham City Council and Amey, the road in front of the shops was closed off and this small public space at the junction of Wilton, Hutton, Robert and Church Vale Roads was transformed for the day.

Activities included: Family arts and crafts with Claudette Holmes, Adlin Shorter, Scylla Parkyn and Danny Webster; live music with Seikou Susso and Phil Bowers; Tree dressing with Faith Pearson; and a specially commissioned exhibition of photographs taken by Vanley Burke. Pete Chaplin was on hand to take free portrait photographs of families on the day.

Creative Civic Change aims to use art and creativity as both a means and catalyst for transformation – connecting the gifts and talents of local people in both communities. It will involve artists in residence working with schools and young people in both areas, providing much needed opportunities to engage with arts and creativity – linking the curriculum with the community.

It will help to enrich home grown initiatives such as the Welsh House Farm Carnival and Birchfield Jazz Festival and enable the two communities to come together and share their experiences.

The two communities will make and share stories through a film club and children’s library and work towards community art commissions aimed at reclaiming and transforming public spaces in the two areas.

Creative Civic Change is a three-year programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Local Trust.



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