Category Archives: Join In

Please complete questionnaire – closing Monday!

Please complete the Ladywood Community First funding questionnaire we described a few days ago! If you are a Ladywood Ward resident or from a Ladywood organisation, we really need to hear your opinions so we can allocate money the way our community would prefer, instead of just according to what our committee thinks. This is your chance to influence which groups and organisations receive support. What should our priorities be?

You can complete the questionnaire here.

Please fill in in straight away as we need to close it on Monday 25th February! It only takes a few minutes.

Thank you very much for your help.

Karen Caine

City Centre Neighbourhood Forum,
and Ladywood Community First Panelist

Quick Questionnaire: what are your priorities? How should funding be allocated to local Ladywood groups?

Ladywood ward was chosen to receive £50,865 from the government’s Community First initiative over four years, from 2011 up to March 2015. The funding is to help communities come together to identify their strengths and local priorities in order to plan for their future and become more resilient. It will fund both new and existing community groups. Continue reading

More cycling news….a cycling forum

Following on from the recent article on a city centre cycling strategy, Stefan has also told us about a cycling forum. The forum aims to give updates to people with an interest in cycling, and provide a constructive outlet for dialogue, opinion and ideas.

We are told “The Forum could also open the door for the people with an interest in cycling to become more involved, offer support, develop links and aid the promotion and development of cycling.”

Its next meeting will be on Tuesday 30th October from 6.30pm to 8pm at Austin Court, Cambridge Street, Brindley Place, B1 2NP. Attendance at the forum is free but spaces are limited, so please register in advance by emailing I believe it is organised by the council’s Smarter Choices team. There is also a cycling area on the council web site.

Karen Caine

City Centre Cycling Strategy – public input

Birmingham City Council Transportation have just started the development of a City Centre Cycling Strategy, to look at the role cycling can play in the city centre within the (Middle) Ring Road, and including crossing points of the Ring Road. They want to identify priority routes for cyclists – which can include roads, public squares, towpaths, etc. They are asking for the opinions of cyclists and those who would like to cycle. Either ideas for good routes, or details of hazardous areas, would be welcome. Any matter relevant to city centre cycling can be included.

Please email comments to and put City Centre Cycling Strategy in the subject line, preferably by  Friday 19th October if possible.

(Many thanks to one of our readers, Stefan, for alerting us to this council request).

Karen Caine

Public Meeting – “Your City Centre – Looking to the Future” – Monday 15 October

The Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum ( the CCNF) is holding a (free) public meeting, on 15th October 2012 at 7pm in the Museum and Art Gallery Learning Zone. .

The agenda:

1. West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner

Police & Crime CommissionerThis new role will be filled by a prospective candidate chosen by the Birmingham electorate on 15 November. . .Many people don’t know why this is happening and what is to be achieved, so now is your opportunity to put your questions to those who should know. Four candidates will present their case for election and take your questions. The candidates at the meeting will be:

Matt Bennett (Conservative)

Cath Hannon (Independent)

Bob Jones (Labour)

Mike Rumble (Independent)


2. The new Library of Birmingham (LoB)

Library of BirminghamThis is to open in September 2013. The exterior is all but completed and inside is a hive of activity with the fitting of interior walls, staircases, cabling, etc. Then will come adaptation to the new uses of a 21st century library as well as installation of the books and archives.




Simon Dingle, Operations Director of the LoB construction for developers Carillion plc, will describe the build project in terms of Project Progress to date, Highlights so far, Work Required to Complete and the Challenges involved.

Brian Gambles, Assistant Director Culture of Birmingham City Council and Chief Executive of Library of Birmingham Development Trust, will talk of the facilities and services to be provided. .

3. CCNF AGM and Election of Committee

This brief section will report on major activities of the past year, a financial statement and election of the new Committee. There will be an opportunity for city centre residents who wish to get even more involved with improving our city centre life to stand for election to the committee at this short AGM. We need volunteers!



Light refreshments will be available at 6:45, ready for the meeting to start at 7pm. We will finish before 9pm.The meeting will be in the Museum and Art Gallery Learning Zone, which can only be accessed via the Great Charles Street Entrance….see map:

Map showing Great Charles Street entrance to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The  City Centre Neighbourhood Forum is a voluntary, non-political, organisation of Birmingham City Centre residents. To find out more about us please click About

All City Centre Residents welcome! Please come along!

Although you can just turn up on the night, it would be very helpful to us to know how many people are likely to come – please Contact Us if you can! Thank you.

Posted by Geoff Caine

Are you concerned about the lack of Peace Garden repairs? Ward meeting on Thursday!

St Thomas Church in Birmingham's Peace Garden, fenced off. Photograph by Ian Warren

St Thomas Church in Birmingham’s Peace Garden as it looked last year, newly fenced off. Photograph by Ian Warren. More recent pictures to follow soon!

More than a year after it was first fenced off pending a survey, the ruins of St Thomas’ Church in the Birmingham Peace Gardens are still fenced off, in case they are dangerous, and pretty overgrown. We are aware this is a matter of concern for nearby residents, and have asked for it to be raised at the next Ladywood Ward meeting on:

Thursday 26 July 2012 at 7pm

Ladywood Health & Community Centre,

St Vincent Street West, B16 8RP

If you share the concerns, please try to come to the meeting to help us show our councillors that resident feeling is strong! If you can’t come in person, please comment below so we can pass your message on (or write to our councillors directly  ,  , )

It seems a shame that this well known local landmark at the corner of Holloway Head and Granville St.  has been allowed to get in this mess, and seems to be being left to deteriorate further.

You may have seen this recent comment from C. Matthews on a previous story on this site,  saying:

“There has been a bit of a tidy up. Slight improvement – must do better. Look at the main exit onto Holloway Head with foot-high grass & weeds & paintwork on the ornamental metal gates peeling. Worse, the garden has become an open toilet for the dogs of local residents, many of whom have no intention of clearing up afterwards.”

Hopefully our councillors will be able to update us with the latest news on Thursday.

To save you the pain of trying to find additional details of the meeting on the council website (it took me getting on for half an hour to find them) you can read details, agenda, and other related documents here.

Karen Caine

Next Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery 3rd April 17:30-19:00

Social Media Surgeries siteVolunteers are offering free social media help to voluntary organisations, community groups, charities, clubs and societies in a relaxed, informal setting.

No boring speeches, no jargon.

Tools like blogs, podcasts, video and social networks can give a real boost to campaigning organisations, often for no or little cost. So these experts (and I) are offering you approachable one-to-one help and support because we believe it can help. You might just want to see what is possible and go away and think about it. You might be itching to set up a blog and start using it. Perhaps you think video might help you tell your story but don’t know where to start? All is possible.

There’ll be no lectures, just people with knowledge, ideas and a passion to help you make best use of the internet for your group or organisation.

Let us know if you can come here:

Karen Caine

Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery 6th March 5:30-7pm

Social Media Surgeries are events where non-profit organisations can get free advice on using social media like blogs, twitter, facebook, etc. You can read more about them here.

If you are involved in a non-profit organisation and would like to get help using social media, please come along to the next Central Birmingham surgery on
Tuesday 6 March 2012 5:30pm – 7:00pm.  If you don’t need help yourself, maybe you could tell someone you know about it?

Karen Caine

Bug counts and worm surveys – free diversity event midday 6th March.

Free talk at Birmingham University’s Winterbourne Gardens midday tomorrow Tuesday 06 March 2012.

Continuing the historic house’s series of free events about biodiversity, the talk will focus on resources that the OPAL project can provide to those interested in wildlife and their local green spaces. OPAL is a national initiative designed to involve and inspire a new generation of nature-lovers, it aims to encourage people from all walks of life to see themselves as nature detectives. The talk will explain practical tips for helping the environment and monitoring nature in your local area.

Congratulations to Social Media Surgeries on Big Society Award!

Social Media Surgeries siteCongratulations go to Nick Booth and everyone involved in the Social Media Surgeries today as they win a Big Society Award!

You may have noticed we often advertise upcoming Central Birmingham Social Media Surgeries in this blog, events where non-profit organisations can get free advice on using social media like blogs, twitter, facebook, etc. We also explained back on our 250th post how they helped us get started with this site, and thanked them.

You can read more about the award here, and about the Social Media Surgeries .

I hope this award helps the Social Media Surgeries to grow. If you are involved in a non-profit organisation and would like to get help using social media, perhaps you would like to come along to the next Central Birmingham surgery on
Tuesday 6 March 2012 5:30pm – 7:00pm

I hope to meet you there (as nowadays I volunteer as a ‘surgeon’). If you don’t need help yourself, maybe you could tell someone you know about it?

Karen Caine

Brian Gambles birmingham

Learn more about plans for the city centre – and perhaps even get involved!

The Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum is holding a (free) public meeting, 14th November 2011 at 6:45pm in the Museum and Art Gallery Learning Zone. There will be talks by the Police Chief Inspector and by Birmingham Council on city centre developments. Continue reading

Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery, Today – Mon 3 Oct

Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery on Mon 3 Oct. 5:30 – 7pm


Volunteers are offering social media help to any voluntary and community groups in the Birmingham area in a relaxed, informal setting.

It doesn’t matter if you are the head of communications at a major charity or an active citizen in your neighbourhood. If you’re at all curious come along:

The Studio 7 Cannon Street,  Birmingham B2 5EP

No boring speeches, no jargon.


Peace Event – Summerfield Park, Dudley Road, 3pm Sunday 14th August

On Sunday there will be a Peace rally in response to this weeks disorder and the tragic loss of life of Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir. This is intended to be a peaceful, and multicultural, event and police are properly aware of it (it is mentioned on their web site). Organisers are suggesting that anyone who wants to gather with others to show their feelings against the riots and deaths does so at this event organised by a number of community groups, and with cross-community support. They are hoping many people will join them.

The event is planned for 3pm Sunday 14th August at Summerfield Park (Dudley Road).

Participants are asked to share a sense of unity and respect for the occasion.

Lets get back to Birmingham city centre!

'We are open as normal' posterIt has been quiet for a couple of days and evenings now, and lets hope it will stay that way, but Birmingham city centre has been looking pretty quiet. Few travelling boats have chosen to moor here this weekend (though the many residential boats are still around). I worry this might be reflecting a ‘stay away in case’ attitude from many people that will further damage our city centre if it continues. The best way to fight the unwelcome influence of the rioters is surely to minimise their effect. So please play lets play our part by getting into the city centre as normal! Some shops may have boarded up windows, but almost all of even these are still open as normal regardless. Hope you can join us there over the weekend!

Karen Caine

View from West Midlands Police Helicopter

Photo of St Martins in Bull Ring from WMP Helicopter

St Martins in Bull Ring from WMP Helicopter, shown with their kind permission via Twitter

I thought you’d like to see this brilliant photograph taken from the West Midlands Police Helicopter!


The picture was obviously taken before the recent Bull Ring modification work began, and comes from the helicopter archives. It was shared via the helicopter Twitter account this afternoon, and when I tweeted them they kindly gave permission to use it on this blog.

If you use Twitter you too could follow them @WMP_Helicopter . Why? Well apart from occasional pictures from above the Midlands they tell people what they have been doing. Ever wondered what the helicopter was doing hovering overhead? This is the way to find out! It makes you realise what a great job they do. From following a stolen car, to searching for a missing child, to spotting people hiding on a roof from the Police on the ground (they climbed down once they realised they were spotted). It turns out they are also equipped to help evacuate the injured to hospital if necessary…as you can see in a photo here. And here is a photograph of the helicopter.

Karen Caine

Shopmobility needs your help!

City centre charity Shopmobility needs your help! Would you consider giving some of your time to help people with mobility difficulties to be able to get around Birmingham city centre? Or perhaps you could help with funding?

Shopmoblity is based in Bullring (car park) and loans scooters and wheelchairs to city centre visitors and shoppers. Shopmobility can make a real difference to the lives of people who would otherwise not be able to shop themselves, or visit the library, theatre and other facilities.

The City Council supports the charity financially but they also have to raise funds to meet their costs. Over the last few years, staffing has been reduced down to the ‘bare bones’ and the service is supported by several volunteers.

Dave Arnold, the Shopmobility Manager, would be pleased to explain more and can be contacted on: 0121 616 2938 or by email using this form:

Health News: ‘Be active’ scheme to continue

The ‘Be Active’ scheme has been awarded a £2.5 million funding package to continue into 2011/12. It offers all Birmingham residents free use of its council–run leisure facilities where they can attend gyms, swimming pools, walking groups, and fitness classes to improve their health and wellbeing.

Be active has received national and international acclaim for its innovative and successful approach.

In 2011 it is trying to improve still further. It will provide a more flexible scheme, adapting to the needs of local communities, and offering a much wider range of activities – these include provision for mums and toddlers, Nordic walking, indoor bowling sessions, family exercise and Tai Chi classes.

If you are interested, you can find out more at

Do you have a Residents’ Association in the city centre?

Can we help each other?

The City Centre Neighbourhood Forum would like to talk to people in local resident associations, or other resident organisations such as resident led management companies, within our area (see map here). We believe this would help:

  • to make sure we are aware of local issues, what is already being done, and whether or how the Forum could help
  • to sound out local opinion and make sure we are representing it properly
  • to enable you to get involved in what the Forum is doing, if you want to, and perhaps even join the committee
  • to exchange links if you have a web site, to help people find both organisations more easily
  • people to share experiences across resident associations about how to deal with various residential block problems.

You may have other helpful ideas to add.

Please get in touch, initially using the Contact Us form, I am sure we could help each other!

Thank you !

Karen Caine
Chair, City Centre Neighbourhood Forum

Community Volunteering Event Monday 7th March

A free Community Volunteering Evening is taking place this Monday 7th March evening from 7pm at Birmingham Council House Committee Rooms 3 & 4 featuring three local organisations. The speakers will be:

Brenda Lawrence for Dojo Community Project


Darren Cannan on behalf of Guide Dogs For The Blind

Margaret Walsh on behalf of St Chad’s Sanctuary


This event  is open to all and is particularly relevant for Birmingham city centre residents.

Although this event is hosted by Ladywood Conservative Party, none of the above organisations are connected to the Conservative Party and there will be no political content to the evening. So whatever your age, background or capabilities, feel free to come along to this event to find out more about helping out locally. If you need more information, please mail

Thanks to everyone who attended our Public Meeting!

Big City Plan logo and picture of a the Metro

Birmingham Big City Plan and Vision for Movement Transport Strategy

We hope you all enjoyed the meeting and found it informative. We are in the process of writing up the consultation and will update both this blog and the Presenters as soon as we can.

In the Annual General Meeting part of the evening I am pleased to say that the volunteers who stood for the committee were all elected, and there are also a couple of other people interested in learning more with a view to possibly joining us. More on this later , and my Chair-person’s report on the year will also follow! It may just take a few days to catch up with all the writing!

And finally, some more ‘thank you’s.

Thank you to all the presenters, who did a great job.

And thank you very much indeed to all the 2010 Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Committee, who have been great this year, and the other ‘friends of the committee’ who have kindly helped us along the way. I have very much enjoyed being Chair, and hope it hasn’t been too bad for you!

Karen Caine.

Ever wish not all the workshops to make things were for kids?

Well, at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery they are not! The museum also holds events encouraging adults to be creative too.

Example of a Felted Flower

Felted Flower

On Saturday 27th November 11am to 4pm you can make your own hand-felted flower corsages, felt beads and purses in a workshop with designer-maker and tutor, Kirsty E. Smith.  It is suitable for beginners and those with more experience. A great opportunity to make your own Christmas presents, or treat yourself!

Participants will be able to make a number of original items to take home with them, and even continue felting at home.

Tickets: £20.00 (all materials included)

To find out more or book a place:

Birmingham Big City Plan and Transport Strategy – public meeting and consultation

Big City Plan logo and picture of a the Metro

Birmingham Big City Plan and Vision for Movement Transport Strategy

A chance for residents to get involved with how our city centre is run and will develop.

The Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum is holding a public meeting, including Big City Plan consultation workshops, on 24th November 2010 at 6:45pm in the Museum and Art Gallery Learning Zone.

At the end there will be an opportunity for city centre residents who wish to get even more involved with improving our city centre life to stand for election to the Neighbourhood Forum committee at our short AGM. We need volunteers!

Our guest speakers are:

Councillor Tim Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Regeneration.

Gary Taylor, Chair of the Broad Street BID (Business Improvement District) and Joint Managing Director of Argent UK.

Richard Cowell, Big City Plan, Birmingham City Council.

Please come to the Great Charles Street entrance of the Museum and Art Gallery.

Read on for map, agenda, etc…

Continue reading

Birmingham’s Local Democracy Week 11-22 October

Birmingham Local Democracy Week Logo Yes, 11-22 October is longer than a week – but perhaps that will make it even better!

The event is held every October. The 2010 Local Democracy week again offers you opportunities to get involved and the Birmingham Local Democracy website lists some of the ways you can do that.

Local democracy week is inspired by the Local Government Association, supported by Birmingham City CouncilBe Birmingham, and incorporates theLocal Hearts Awards for Birmingham’s big hearted active citizens.

Events happening in the City Centre include:

Continue reading

Meeting about changes to NHS Wednesday 22nd

The Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust have organised a meeting tomorrow.  Below is the notice they sent us:

Proposed Govt changes to NHS: what does it all mean?

Your questions answered by PCT Chief Executive & Dir. of Public Health

Wednesday 22nd Sept 2010,

6pm – 7.30pm at Pentland Suite, Strathalan Hotel, Hagley Road.

Our local Patients’ Networks have been concerned about what the new NHS White Paper will mean to local people living in the Heart of Birmingham area. The Chairs of the Patients’ Networks have particularly raised questions about changes that may have already started.

Next Wednesday evening a briefing with Kevin Magee (Chief Executive) and Jacky Chambers (Director of Public Health) has been arranged to address as many questions as possible from members of all Patients’ networks. I hope you can kindly attend?

Please don’t forget to call Preetpal on 0121 255 0743 to confirm you are coming and do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like help with transport or another assistance to attend.

Many thanks for your interest & involvement.

Free short First Aid sessions in city centre 1st and 4th September

First Aid Poster Free drop-in sessions for an hour – no need to book, but you do need to be there at the start times!

Wednesday 1st September in Victoria Square

11am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm

Saturday 4th September in Edgbaston Street (outside the indoor markets, near Bull Ring)

11am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm

The sessions can hold up to 60 people each and aim to show you some basic first aid techniques that could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.

They are being run by Birmingham Resilience and St John Ambulance

URGENT TODAY BEFORE 4PM: Play your part in Birmingham’s City of Culture pitch!

City of Culture FlagThe Birmingham UK City of Culture team makes its final pitch to the judging panel in Liverpool TODAY explaining just why our city deserves to be the first ever UK City of Culture in 2013.
Can you help convince the judges that Birmingham deserves this prestigious accolade in 2013?
The strength of our bid comes from the fact that it is supported from the grassroots upwards. The 24-hour Big Culture blog in April saw 7,500 individuals blogging about over 350 cultural events in just one day.

Can we replicate that huge success today to show the panel that Birmingham means business?

How Can You Help?

You can add comments to the live blog and the bid team will make sure the panel see your contribution between 2-4pm. (The blog will be broadcast to the judges as the team pitch)

Go to 
Or tweet using the hashtag #intheroom and they’ll pick up your tweets and add them to the blog. You can tweet messages of support at any time.
This is Birmingham’s bid, and would help bring great benefits to us, so please play your part and together We Can Win!

Best streets in Britain? – Add your Vote!

Corporation Street - best Fashion street?
Corporation Street – best Fashion street? photo:Geoff Caine

Google Street View is holding a Vote for Best Fashion Street in Britain, Best Foodie Street, and Most Picturesque Street.

Corporation Street is on the shortlist for Best Fashion Street.
Broad Street is shortlisted for Best Foodie Street.
What do you think?
You can vote on Google’s voting site!
Thanks to Simon of eastsideblog for pointing this competition out to us!
Geoff Caine

Influence Police Policies

Sorry for the short notice (we’ll try and do better next time) but the next chance for residents around Broad Street to meet their local police officers and influence their policing priorities in this area is tomorrow (Thursday 2nd) at 1pm. See David’s post if you can’t attend in person.

These Neighbourhood Tasking Meetings are a great way to get to know your local officers and let them know about any concerns, or thank them for particularly good work.

Please go to the Central Birmingham Police Broad Street and Entertainment Area web pages to learn more, including feedback from past meetings and current policing priorities for each area.


Karen Caine

Farmers’ Market at Brindleyplace?

In case you would like a Farmer’s Market at Brindleyplace (or indeed want to oppose one) there is a poll at the moment on the Brindleyplace web site. Presumably they are sounding out readers views for a purpose not just idle curiosity…so make sure your voice is heard!

If you are a regular Brindleyplace visitor you might be interested in their online newsletter to learn what is happening, or to look out for special offers. If so you can sign up for email notification of new editions.