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.
Melton Road was one of the most exciting and action packed events that I have been to, with so many different things going on throughout the whole street. (more…)
The Active Wellbeing Society (or TAWS, just to make life easier) is a growing organisation dedicated to providing people with spaces to get up and get active for no cost at all! (more…)
Today was my first event with Birmingham Active streets. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side and had poured it down for pretty much the entire day. But that didn’t knock the confidence of the flood of kids that came running out to get stuck in with the activities and equipment we’d set out. In fact, I’d say they probably had more fun in the rain; whether they were battling it out in the tug of war, trying to hit the elusive bullseye on the archery set or even just smacking a ball around with the tennis/cricket sets. There was always something for them to do, and the fact that they already knew each other already made them all the more competitive and willing to take part.
The only downside of the afternoon (apart from the rain) was the turn-out of the parents and volunteers. We were however fortunate enough to be donated a bag of sand to make a sandpit with, which the kids loved (c’mon, we basically made a beach in their own front gardens if you count the puddles as the sea).
The road, Kinlet Avenue in West Heath, was one-way, making it easy to block the entrance of the road. Although that didn’t stop one rogue taxi driver (who claimed he lived on the road) from driving all the way down the one-way street in the wrong direction and exiting through the road block.
All in all, it was a great first experience despite the setbacks and I really enjoyed myself. Praying for warm, sunny weather for my next event and maybe a few more volunteers to lend a helping hand.
This is the first ever project that I have worked on with other students in regards to putting together a programme for the Summer. Whilst I had planned for two weeks worth of inductions, I can see I overly compensated on the timetable, having to fill empty spaces with quizzes or activities for the students. Whilst they didn’t mind this, I believe in future we can do the induction in one week rather than two weeks. But after all, these first lot are our guinea pigs so to speak.
However, I think that the difference from day one is astounding. You can see that these students have come out of their shells and become comfortable seeing each other day in, day out. One students in particular has gone from being super quiet to super comfortable and talking louder with no hesitation, they are getting more involved rather than sitting in the background quietly.
But in all honesty, I could not have done it without the support of my mentors and partners in crime. They have been such a massive help – filling in for other staff members who couldn’t make it or just enjoying some time with the students. So thank you to those guys!