Category : Activities

Clean Air – more than a Zone or a Day

Co-operating Well – Free Family Fun Events this Summer

Did you know? The Active Wellbeing Society is part of the co-operative movement.

Co-ops make a difference to people’s lives right around the world. Every year hundreds of co-ops and organisations across the UK work together to promote co-ops during Cooperatives Fortnight.

The Active Wellbeing Society are taking part in Co-op Fortnight 2019 (24th June – 7th July) to share the power of co-operation and celebrate what we can achieve when we co-operate.  We will be working with Co-operative Futures and other local co-ops to promote the impact of co-ops in Birmingham and spread the co-op word.

We are holding 4 Family Fun Days on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July to showcase our work and share our Co-op story.  We’d love you to come along and join us!

Come along and join us for local park based activities and games, food, arts and crafts, food, kids workshops, cycling and much more.

The events take place at:

Ward End Park – Sat 6th July 11am until 1pm

Pype Hayes Park – Sat 6th July 1pm until 3pm

Calthorpe Park – Sun 7th July 1pm until 3pm

Handsworth Park – Sun 7th July 1.30pm until 3.30pm

For more information email or call 0121 728 7030

17th June 2019  |  Adeel Khan

Let’s Ride!

Humans on the Heath

It’s the people that make an area – and in Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook there are some wonderful people from all walks of life, who have plenty of stories to share! Inspired by the Social Media phenomenon ‘Humans of New York’, we’ve collated some portraits of people living, loving and working in our neighbourhood – Humans on the Heath from our launch event at City Farm, Balsall Heath:


The difference between a game and a sport

British Cycling and HSBC UK to provide over 600 bikes to children in disadvantaged communities in Birmingham

Olympic cyclist and West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador, Shanaze Reade, hands over first free bikes to local children as part of scheme to encourage cycling.

A programme that will help hundreds of children from across Birmingham onto two wheels by providing free bikes and equipment, has been launched by HSBC UK and British Cycling, alongside The Active Wellbeing Society.

The programme aims to reach children within the top 10% most disadvantaged communities of the city, to ensure that, regardless of their background, children have access to a bike and can embrace the joys and health benefits of cycling.

This programme comes hot on the heels of the successful Velo Birmingham and Midlands event where 17,000 people rode up to 100 miles, and in advance of the Birmingham Lets Ride event that will see a 4km route around Birmingham City.

The Big Birmingham Bikes programme is being rolled out to children aged 15 or under A Bikeability session will be running for pupils and recipients of the first tranche of bikes being given out.

The scheme, which is funded by HSBC UK and British Cycling, is delivered by The Active Wellbeing Society and will provide hundreds of children aged 15 or under. In and around Birmingham with the basics to get them onto two wheels; a bike, helmet and a pump.

Shanaze Reade, Olympian and cycling world champion and West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador said: “Initiatives like this are fundamental to ensuring that children – regardless of who they are or where they come from – are given the opportunity to learn how to cycle.

“It’s easy to forget that a lot of kids simply don’t have access to a bike and schemes like this help to break down these barriers and ensure that cycling is something that can be enjoyed by all, no matter what your background.

“There are so many benefits to riding a bike – from physical and mental health, to the environment – and by providing hundreds of free bikes and equipment to children across the city, HSBC UK and British Cycling are contributing towards a healthier, fitter and greener nation which is something that should be applauded.”

Luke Harper, HSBC UK’s Head of the British Cycling partnership said: “Our partnership with British Cycling is particularly focused on grassroots participation, encouraging and supporting communities, colleagues and customers to get onto two wheels, contributing to greener, fitter, healthier Britain. This fantastic scheme that will make a real difference to youngsters in disadvantaged communities in Birmingham who might not have the opportunity to own a bike of their own.”

Nick Hayes, Head of Commercial Partnerships at British Cycling, said: “Our partnership with HSBC UK intends to make a real impact on society and ultimately create a shift in culture towards a greener, fitter healthier nation. This initiative in Birmingham will ensure that 500 bikes are given to children at schools and communities in some of the most deprived areas of the city and is a shining example of those values coming to life.”

“In a year where Yorkshire is set to host the UK’s biggest sporting event of the year – the UCI Road World Championships – we want to ensure that every child in Britain, regardless of their background, is given the opportunity to ride a bike. And this programme is just one of the ways that we will make this happen.”

Karen Creavin, Chief Executive at The Active Wellbeing Society said “The Active Wellbeing Society has established networks of community cycle collaboration in the most deprived communities throughout Birmingham, working hard to build a pathway for children and families to get into cycling. We aim to improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and families by removing the barriers that prevent them being active and we aim to particularly encourage uptake from the communities in most need. We are delighted to work with HSBC UK and British Cycling to bring this vital project to life, and we look forward to lots more people in our city enjoying the freedom and joy of riding a bike”.

Bike Banks will be free to use for anyone aged 15 and under (with parent or guardian’s consent).

For more about Bike Banks contact

20th May 2019  |  Adeel Khan

BBC WM wants YOUR business to ‘Get Moving!’

120 Soldiers: Basic Training

Over 100 people link arms in rows in a large dance studio.
120 Soldiers. I’m in there somewhere…

I’ve always enjoyed seeing conductors at work preparing choirs and orchestras for musical performances, but today is I think the first time I’ve seen a choreographer doing their thing and it’s a joy to watch. It’s certainly the first time I’ve been choreographed. Yes, I made it through the rehearsal of the pre-show pop up performance for Tuesday’s world premiere of Rosie Kay’s 10 Soldiers. What a life-enhancing experience! I’m so pleased to have been able to do it and to enjoy it. This may sound odd but I wouldn’t done if I hadn’t had ME/CFS. When I was well it would not have occurred to me to put myself forward for anything like this. I would have thought ‘That’s not for someone like me, it’s for dancers.’ There are so many things I struggle to do now that I’ll consider anything that is possible.
I don’t want to blind anyone with science here, but the way choreography works is that someone tells and shows you how to move and you do your best to move in that way. I know, crazy isn’t it. With Rosie we also had fun and focusing warm up, walking and marching exercises and some readings of World War I poetry that informed the piece, which really helped to set the mood and feeling for the performance. I also enjoyed having some time to talk to Rosie about the days when we were in the early days of our careers and working together regularly, something that I totally took for granted at the time and treasure such a lot in retrospect. Her no-budget dance film ‘The Wild Party’ was one of the first things I edited and is still one of my favorites. Then there was that time I was concussed but hadn’t noticed, Rosie did and drove me to hospital. Great days.
For me, the big question was, could I even get to the end of a day of dance rehearsal? I started by speaking the person responsible looking after us, Liz Leck, another face from my film-making past. Pretty much the last project I did was for Liz and the Hippodrome’s Education department. She had supported me wonderfully through that, and was similarly supportive today. So in a Hippodrome wheelchair I learned all of the choreography and did practically all the warm up. I only switched to standing for the in situ rehearsal in the foyer. I hope I’m not giving too much away by revealing that the performance involves a fair amount of marching. This does put a strain on the legs but I only actually experience symptoms of this when I stop, so it’s the standing still after the marching that is most challenging. The knees do begin to complain and shake. Happily, using the chair for most of the day meant that I was fresh enough to get through two run throughs and even walk to the bus afterwards.
Thanks Rosie, thanks Liz, thanks to all of you who helped me today and everyone with whom I spoke, especially the person who said nice things about my previous blog! I’ll see you all on Tuesday.

Run Birmingham / Big Run Project receives Cross City Heroes railway station recognition

As you may have already heard – heroic groups from across the West Midlands will be receiving special recognition at local Cross City line stations this summer.

We’re delighted to announce Run Birmingham / Big Run Project has been
given the title of Cross City Heroes, following a competition run by West Midlands Railway and West Midlands Rail Executive.

The awards celebrate 40 years of passenger services on the Cross City line between Lichfield, Birmingham and Redditch/Bromsgrove. The two organisations have been on the lookout for deserving community groups and charities near to every local station along the route – with a final list of 24 being drawn up.

Passengers, residents and railway staff have been submitting nominations for local clubs, charities and other groups that have made a real impact on their local area.

Fay Easton, head of stakeholder and community for West Midlands Railway, said: “We have received a fantastic range of nominations for our Cross City Heroes competition, and the final 24 are a really deserving list of winners. The route is key to connecting people across the city, and there is so much going on around stations on the line. We want to thank everyone who submitted nominations, but more importantly to our winning groups for everything they contribute to their local communities.”

Run Birmingham / Big Run Project will receive a plaque of recognition at Chester Road Railway Station.

A huge well done to Taz, Sally, Clinton and Adam and all the dedicated volunteers who support the programme.

15th May 2019  |  Adeel Khan

Funding secured to help Birmingham children during the school holidays

Happy Healthy Holidays has secured £2million funding to provide free holiday food and fun activities for children across Birmingham during the 2019 summer holidays.

Funded by the Department for Education, Happy Healthy Holidays will be running this summer across all of Birmingham’s ten districts and aims to help 18,000 children have a great summer. The initiative forms the largest of the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity and Food Pilot Programmes this summer, and builds on Accord Housing Association’s experience of taking action in this area over the last six years.

The Accord Housing Association led consortium, strongly committed to community wellbeing and children’s outcomes in Birmingham, includes Birmingham Playcare Network, the Active Wellbeing Society, and Sport Birmingham. Accord is also supported by a wider network of partners including, Fareshare, Brakes Meals & More, Birmingham City Council, Severn Trent, City Serve and the Let’s Cook Project.

Happy Healthy Holidays aims to increase and improve the quality of holiday provision and to help families that find the summer particularly challenging in terms of being able to access affordable nutritious healthy food and fun physical activities.

As part of the programme, a new community funding and training support scheme has been launched to encourage organisations to scale up their delivery and strengthen their capacity to provide good quality holiday activities with fun hands-on cooking opportunities and healthy meals for children and young people.

If your organisation can provide holiday places for children this summer, then we want to hear from you – click here for more information on how to apply. The consortium are looking to work with a range of providers including schools, nurseries, children centres, youth organisations, faith groups, sports clubs, community centres and local businesses.

Sara Woodall, Executive Director of Communities at Accord, said: “We are delighted that Happy Healthy Holidays will be co-ordinating the roll out of this scheme in Birmingham. Helping children to access great activities and tasty meals during the school holidays is something that all members of the Happy Healthy Holidays consortium feel very passionately about.

“During the 2019 summer holidays we will be working with local schools, children’s centres and community groups to support children’s physical and mental wellbeing; helping them to thrive and enjoy, what we hope will be our sunniest months.”

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council, added: “Summer holidays provide a great opportunity to build on the strong foundation of healthy eating and physical activity in schools in a different, fun way. This programme, targeted at those most in need, provides free healthy food, physical activity and educational activities in some of our most challenged communities.”

David Cusack, Chief Executive at the St Paul’s Trust, commented: “St Paul’s is proud to be involved in the Happy Healthy Holidays programme that will work with family’s in Balsall Heath and surrounding areas to ensure children have a well-balanced nutritious diet and stimulating activities during the summer holiday programme. We will be working with families to ensure the impact of the programme has a lasting positive effect on the health of families in the area”

Find out more about Happy Healthy Holidays at

15th May 2019  |  Adeel Khan