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:

“Kerry at the library is very kind. We like Kerry. She reads the books to us and she tells us about how to hold the books and look after the books. She tells us about the activities at the library on a Saturday. She wants everybody to come. She’s inclusive.”

Tina and her four year old daughter, Phoebe, love going to Balsall Heath Library each week.

“Today is nice. It’s good for the kids. It’s good for the community. We just met someone. Something to do with the kids as a family. There were a lot of activities.”

Elisa, Mimmo and their daughter attended the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring Event in May 2019 where they shared their thoughts on the event.

“I volunteer for plogging [jogging and litterpicking at the same time] and I thought I would come along to see what it was all about today. I was only going to pop out for an hour. I’m still here now. I’m here now with kids, family, looking around the area, around the park, to see how much litter we can collect. The first lot we had seven bags and someone found a crisp packet that was dated from the 1980s.
I know a lot of schools are involved in it and you can organise your own community yourselves. Ask your friends and family. It think it just makes everywhere look nicer. It brings [the area] up a bit more.”

Daniel attended the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring Event in May 2019 where he shared he spoke about his voluntary work ‘plogging’.

“The Nest is good because it’s caring. They give you food. You have time to play and you can go on the farm. There’s loads of animals. It’s not particularly big but it’s good to see the animals and you can put them to bed.”

Adam attends ‘The Nest’ playscheme at St Pauls Trust after school and during school holidays.

“It’s the biggest turn out that I’ve seen for one of these events. It’s important because it gets people outside. It’s gets people interacting with animals. It gets people interacting with plants. It would have been a crying shame if this had closed down.
In terms of what we’re doing here [selling plants] – Chris, on of the regular volunteers went on a bit of a spree and decided to make an event of it. Only recently in the past have I become a gardener. Before that I knew nothing about gardening. It’s an old skill that no-one seems to use any more. Encouraging people to look after even just one or two plants is a step in the right direction.”

Kevin supports gardening projects at Balsall Heath City Farm. He shared his thoughts at their Spring Event in May 2019.

“I came on Thursday to a Stay and Play with my son who is three. As I was leaving the building I saw there was lots going one. There was a person with a bike making a milkshake. There was a hula hoop there and there was archery. I had no experience of how to do it but the people there helped me do it. The first time – so I had a good experience. I think that helps you to become more confident.”

Sahista noticed the Active Wellbeing Society running activities outside the regular Stay and Play session she attends at St Pauls Children’s CentreIt inspired her to try some new activities.

“I’m here today. I’m helping Friends of the Farm. I’ve joined Friends of the Farm after working at St. Pauls for over 20 years. I didn’t want to see the farm go so I’m here to try to make sure that we keep the funding safe, even though it is safe for the time being.
I started volunteering here over 30 years ago. My kids saw the farm and wanted me to help out. We used to come on a Saturday afternoons and feed the animals, lock them all away, chase the goats around and put the alarm on. I didn’t know who I was working for at the time until I got a bottle of wine and a tin of biscuits outside my front door. That’s where it all started and I’ve been here ever since.”

Sally volunteers at St Pauls Trust. We spoke with her at the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring event.

“It was really interesting activities happening. It was really fun. It made everybody come together. It’s such a lovely community. It’s really good for the children – it makes them get out the house.”

Shakila attended the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring Event in May 2019 with her family where she shared her thoughts on the event.

“Today has been really lovely. My two year old has been free and enjoyed it all. My little boy loved the music. The whole atmosphere and feeling here has been friendly, inviting and fun.”

Jan attended the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring Event in May 2019 where she shared her thoughts on the event.

“I worked in Clifton School in the 80s. I think today is good because it’s bringing the whole community which is living here. The locals, all age groups are here. A lot of children don’t really see nature and animals and this is a chance. They are feeding them and touching them.”

Indusharma attended the Balsall Heath City Farm Spring Event in May 2019 where she shared her thoughts on the event.

To watch this project develop and find out more about things in Balsall heath, visit Neighbourhood News Online, or visit Balsall Heath City Farm.

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