Category : Project Brum

A Summer Begins

Fast forward two months and I am coming to the end of what has been an interesting and educating two-week induction period.

When conversations about summer plans started to roll around I had to make a decision. Drag all of my stuff down the M6, or look for something to do so I could stay in Birmingham. Trying to make that decision is how I came across Project Brum. Not long after sending of my application I was invited for an interview, I was so nervous as interviews are not my strong point and then they only went and emailed me to say we needed to wear clothes suitable for activity.  I’m used to wearing skirts or smart trousers for interviews so I instantly knew this was going to be interesting. The interview process was the most casual one I’ve ever been a part off, at first it threw me but I settled in and already knew I would get along with some of the others present.

Sat around a table with people I vaguely recognised from my interview I was sure it would be an awkward two weeks induction but the staff at the wellbeing service and the mentors made sure it was easy to settle in and participate. As someone fairly new to Birmingham I’ve enjoyed learning about all the different things the wellbeing service have made available to people in some of the most deprived areas as well as hearing from people who are passionate about what they do. I was nervous before this induction as I haven’t been involved in sport or been particularly active for a long time after contracting meningitis in my teens, I was worried I wouldn’t fit in in the ‘active’ scene. However, I’ve learned that for some people seeing someone who looks like them out there taking part in activities they might not see themselves doing makes them want to take part. I now can’t wait to get stuck in.

As for the people I’ve spent the past two weeks with? I don’t have much to say other than sitting in a room full of people who get just as in to quizzes and Pictionary as you and your siblings do, and who seem to get along from the get go has only made me certain that I’m glad to have the opportunity to join this team.

11th July 2017  |  charlotte richardson

Something New; A New Beginning

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!

10th July 2017  |  Mentors All

Induction Week at Birmingham City Council’s Wellbeing Service

As part of ‘Project Brum’, we are working alongside staff at Birmingham City Council’s Wellbeing Service – a department which is continually striving to create new and exciting activities to improve the health and social lives of Birmingham residents.

I’m Rebecca, a 22 year old Politics and International Studies graduate from The University of Warwick! I’ve had a really insightful and eye-opening first week on ‘Project Brum’, which is a new summer work placement opportunity for students and young people living in/near Birmingham.

As a Politics graduate, I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the Council works to promote active living through free and accessible activities. In an era of austerity and wage cuts, it is more important than ever to widen the opportunities that residents have to access free and inclusive offers – such as Active Streets, Park Lives, Big Birmingham Bikes, Run Birmingham, and much more. I’ve been so impressed at how much the Council is doing to promote, run, and fund these activities: activities which are changing lives.

We’ve heard stories of women going from ‘Couch to 5k’, having never taken part in a running group before yet going on to run in marathons – which is absolutely phenomenal and inspirational. Also, we’ve heard how the Wellbeing Service is working with the BME community through community-led initiatives, and is promoting accessible and inclusive activites – such as adapted cycling for people with mental or physical disabilities. This work is invaluable to a diverse city such as Birmingham.

All in all, I’ve been inspired by the work that the Wellbeing Service does in our communities, parks, leisure centres, and streets. I’m thoroughly lucky to be a part of it!


6th July 2017  |  Rebecca Fletcher

I made it through induction!

No more power points and talks, this time we got a taster of what its like to be an Activator. It was a positive induction experience because we learnt a lot in two weeks, we where not thrown in the deep end, we had been given the necessary knowledge needed to be an activator and how to utilise the equipment in order to bring the community together so that they can enjoy their time.

The induction weeks enabled me to know the group a little better and build a social relationship which allowed me to seek advice and help if I needed it. However, I think that we needed to go out more to different parks and wellbeing centres’ around Birmingham, so that we can familiarise ourselves with the parks/centres, this could have been done by arranging a visit which allowed us to see a ‘wellbeing activator’ lead a session in the park and how they interact with the public, this would give us a visual experience on how we should carry out the sessions we go to.

We could have also been given our actual timetable which would have allowed us to continue the following week knowing what we had to do instead of being confused.

However, the event at Maypole Ln ‘Happy Valley Family Fun Day’ with Active Streets allowed me to interact with the public and play games with children at the event such as helping out with the ‘Bow and Arrow’ as well as signing people up with leisure cards, this was surprising because it was my first time at an event and I managed to sign up to 6 people which was great fun because it enabled me to build a strong relationship with the community living around the park.

4th July 2017  |  Mohammed Usman

Welcome to ProjectBrum

19030507_1349067165142464_6740059808244143987_nFor a project that is still in its pioneering days, ProjectBrum has already proven itself as a well organised scheme with a bright future and endless possibilities over the next few years.
Although it’s hard to gauge people’s true feelings towards the project, an overall positive attitude coming from those working with us this summer can definitely be felt. People were engaging and chatting through the ice-breaker activities and teamwork tasks given to us by Karen and Emma, and managing to stay concentrated and attentive or at least appearing so through the less exciting segments.
Overall I think the initial couple of weeks are going to be the hardest, as with anything new there are periods of awkwardness and lessons to be but as we progress through the weeks and start experiencing what the Wellbeing Service provides and gives to the residents of Birmingham on a personal level then people will find their places and settle into a comfortable routine and by September won’t want to leave.

3rd July 2017  |  Sam Humphries

The move to Big Birmingham Bikes

Over the last few days I had the opportunity to visit Big Birmingham Bikes (BBB) and see the events and the rides they put on around Birmingham, as the Big Birmingham Bikes have been turning up all over Birmingham, a few days ago I even came home to find a Big Birmingham Bike in my alleyway, my friend received one which he uses to get around and also to go out cycling with his friends.

The team are trying to make sure that the social element of riding a bike is emphasised and that the Big Birmingham Bike rides develop into community groups that can support existing riders and help to bring in new people to cycle. One example of this would be at Cotteridge park during ‘CoCoMad’ where we had a local women who was willing to learn how to ride a park and the social aspect was so important as we had children turn up at the event to ride the Big Birmingham Bikes with their parents!

This responsiveness to local needs and flexibility in provision is seen as central to the success of the Big Birmingham Bikes programme and during my first meeting with the Big Birmingham Bikes team we discussed Cycling Community Clubs and how we could engage with local communities and pitch activities successfully.

I’m delighted to be part of Big Birmingham Bikes initiative and look forward to working with them in these upcoming weeks and I can’t wait to visit the cycle community clubs around Birmingham!

3rd July 2017  |  Marcus Belben

A truly inspiring week

I honestly didn’t think that I would have the opportunity to take part in Project Brum at Birmingham City Council.
Coming from Birmingham living in the community, after finishing my AS Level exams, I spent my first two days getting to know the people around me and what working on this Project meant to them. This allowed me to really see what the wellbeing service do for the first time and judging from a brainstorm of what I knew about the wellbeing service I knew a little.

[Photo – me at my first event for Wellbeing Team – Happy Valley Funday]

3rd July 2017  |  Marcus Belben

Back to it!

Last summer I worked with the ActiveStreets project –  me and a few other students spent our summer generally helping out in all aspects of Birmingham’s Wellbeing Service. Towards the end of the summer we knuckled down to develop the ActiveStreet’s documentation and started building a conceptual framework for the project, upon our return this summer we’ve seen our ideas and documents being used in practice and it’s exciting to see the project enter a new phase!

As Nina Simone said “it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life and I’m feeling good”… ,

For those who aren’t familiar with ActiveStreets it’s project run by the Wellbeing Service of Birmingham City Council, the aim of the project is to enable Birmingham residents to exercise their right to close their road for social activities, whether it’s giving the kids on the street a chance to play together or for the adults to socialise over hot drinks and cake – if that’s your cup of tea.


26th June 2017  |  Marcus Belben

Reasons to stop idling

Schools in America have partnered with Kern Green for the Just Say No to Idling Campaign.

Our car breakdown cover provided us with a nice new car for a few days which had an ‘automatic start-stop‘ after our old car died (thank you LV=).  It’s a nifty bit of technology which helps reduce car emissions, but you don’t have to buy a new car to stop idling; The first UK Clean Air Day (15th June) is the best possible time to change idle habits. (more…)

10th May 2017  |  Marcus Belben