Well Christmas has been and gone and I think we’ve said happy new year to just about everyone, anyone missed, Happy New Year! (more…)
War memorials are something you’ll find all over our city and in surprising places, and where better to start finding out about our World War One heritage than paying a visit? That’s what Paganel Primary School did this Friday, to perhaps the most significant World War One memorial in Birmingham – Lodge Hill Cemetery, where 498 soldiers from all over the Commonwealth are buried. (more…)
Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Balsall Heath were among the first areas in Birmingham to get extensive 20mph zones in 2015. At a cost of £400,000, the 20mph scheme was anticipated to pay for itself within a year. Two years on, what impact has it made?
With our first event done, we are coming away with a feeling of excitement. Pots were planted, shrubs were established and neighbours aquainted. (more…)
Alice T from Active Streets writes:
With Birmingham being one of the greenest cities in the U.K, we want to expand this legacy and carry it through from our larger spaces to our local residential streets. (more…)
Birmingham is one of the UKs greenest cities and boasts more public open space than any other European city – but how well connected is it, and how easy to access? (more…)
Charlotte Richardson writes:
After being away with university for a few days I was excited to finally get stuck into my first few sessions with Project Brum. On Saturday 1st July I was up bright and early for the CoCoMAD festival at Cotteridge Park. I had never been to this park or even heard of this festival before so I was a little nervous. Despite the traffic I arrived quite early and so felt a sense of relieve when I spotted the others arriving.
Once everyone had had a quick catch up it was time to unload the van and set up. The set up was quick and easy, with only a little hold back when I hadn’t a clue how to put one of the pieces of equipment together, someone spotted me struggling and helped me and we were back on track. Myself and Elisha were then asked if we could assist at the arts & crafts station and bellyfit sessions. As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy the heat I jumped at the chance to do something more laid back, that was in the shade and didn’t require me to run around. It was bound to be an easy day.
Oh how I was wrong. There was an hour or two where only a handful of children came to paint and chatted with us about how many times they had been to the festival or the park itself when all of a sudden so many children arrived we couldn’t move. Between a toddler opening the glitter and pouring it everywhere then another knocking water over everyone I welcomed home time. Don’t get me wrong I had a great day but there’s something about being overly hot and covered in glitter that just makes me crave home.
The next day I was at my first ever road closure for active streets. It was a shorter but just as busy day. Stepping foot onto the street I was instantly transported back to my childhood, the residents had organised a bouncy castle, their own food, drinks, got an ice cream and even the fire brigade brought an engine down for the kids to sit in. After all the negative press around at the minute it was totally rewarding to be part of something that brought a community together.
Charlotte Richardson is part of Project Brum, Wellbeing team
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The single most important thing about Active Streets is getting neighbours out onto their own streets, talking and playing and yet the most common question Active Streets gets asked is what do you do then?
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Project Brum Activators we continue to grow in numbers of Active Streets. Even more exciting than that is the move towards more creative and ‘wild’ active streets, working to develop our service to better bring more people together about the issues important to them.
Our first events in 2013 were in partnership with Parks4Play – their excellent play leaders brought creative play to the streets in the form of cardboard boxes, chalk, giant bubbles and many other simple, cheap creative play ideas. Slime has been a big hit on our streets this year (more accurately non-Newton fluid or Oobleck from Dr. Seuss). It’s also a good opportunity to do the sort of activities you might think twice about doing in your own home – painted hand and footprints on wallpaper is fun, and maybe if you’re campaigning for something locally, banner making might be useful.
Your event might naturally have a theme of some kind, which might help – this year we’ve supported street events for National Clean Air Day, in memory of Jo Cox, and to raise awareness Birmingham’s 20mph limits.
We’re run events by the side of a canal and within a school canteen this year where a healthy drink was needed – our bicycle smoothie maker came into it’s own.
We nearly always bring some sports activities to our events, but maybe you could organise teams beforehand for a game of cricket on the evening of a big game, like one road near Edgbaston will be later this year?
Active Streets have occasionally been caught out by the weather, but what if your event takes advantage of the weather or the season? Why not keep some plastic bags to one side to make mini kites, or what sort of garden activities could you do in the street? This year in September and October we’re looking to support more streets who may be interested in planting up or ‘wilding up’ areas of ground that are less well cared for on Streets.
Active Streets may be getting more creative and wild this year, and there’s more evidence to demonstrate the health benefits, but whatever it does, it’s still first and foremost about bringing people together.