About Us

Welcome to Neighbourhood News Online!

Neighbourhood News Online was created by Dr. Anita Halliday, former CEO of St Pauls Trust, in part to fill the gap left by the demise of neighbourhood magazine ‘The Balsall Heathan’ which was published monthly and circulated to every home in Balsall Heath.

Since Anita’s death it has developed into a community news site for people across Balsall Heath. It is currently maintained on a largely voluntary basis by Rachel Gillies, a local resident involved in a number of community projects and self-employed in community film, media and heritage projects.

Our timeline

March 2020 onwards

Neighbourhood News Online responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown by creation of an information page to support local residents and the Balsall Heath Mutual Aid group. This page was used to signpost people to essential services and support and also gave clear, relevant information from trusted sources, including the NHS, Public Health England and Birmingham City Council.

October 2019 – March 2020

A commission from Ageing Better in Sparkbrook involved Rachel and Elisabeth working with a range of local community organisations to support them in promoting their activities for the elders they serve. 10 organisations received tailored support with developing their promotional work. This included developing websites, a series of short films and support with using Social Media through a range of Social Media surgeries.

April – July 2019

The Active Wellbeing Society supported the project from April 2019 until July 2019 through funding a series of community media workshops with residents across Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook. Their interest in storytelling to connect people led to the development of ‘Humans of the Heath’ – a series of profiles of local people.

October 2018 – April 2019

Neighbourhood News Online was part of a commission from Balsall Heath Forum as part of a Local Innovation Fund grant, which came to an end in April 2019. The website was developed into a community news, directory and events page for Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook by freelancers, Rachel Gillies, Elisabeth Charis and Hayley Frances. We have a passion for this area and wanted to use our skills and experience living and working here to connect residents and organisations together. This grant also funded the production of two print newsletters, delivered to residents and community venues.

The Future

We are currently seeking to develop our work further into an online platform run by an inter-generational team of people representing the different community groups and organisations in Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook.

The aim of this project is to create a self sustaining resource for local residents to improve health, wellbeing and participation; to spread awareness about available resources and provision; encourage communication between local organisations and residents to further develop involvement and to reduce isolation by reaching into people’s homes with relevant news told by familiar people.

Keep up to date

To stay up to date with news and events from across Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook and to receive regular reminders to keep your own details updated on the site, we encourage you to sign up to occasional e-mail updates through out Mailchimp newsletter.