Author: Rachel Gillies

Come and find out more about Birmingham’s Clean Air journey

The People for Public Services Forum would like to invite you to its online meeting on:

Tuesday 16th March 2021

2pm – 3pm

Air pollution has been declared a national health emergency and contributes to 1,000 deaths in Birmingham every year through conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease.

In 2021, Birmingham will launch a Clean Air Zone which will charge the owners of high polluting vehicles to enter certain parts of the city.  This is different to a congestion charge (like in London), which charges every vehicle to enter a designated area, the Clean Air Zone will only charge the most polluting vehicles.

The Brum Breathes team has designed a question and answer session to explain how the Clean Air Zone will operate, who is affected and the support available for residents, workers and businesses.

This is your chance to hear from the team leading the implementation of the Clean Air Zone and to find out how it may or may not affect you.  It is also a chance to ask any questions direct to the expert and to find out what support is available.


Everyone is welcome to attend. 

If you would like to attend the online forumplease register here. You will be emailed a link 24 hours before the event goes live.

If you are unable to book a place using Eventbrite, please do not hesitate to contact us via our email

If you wish to get more information in advance on the Clean Air Zone, please visit:

If you can’t attend this time details of future arrangements will be posted on our webpage, which includes all details of all papers from previous meetings.

International Women’s Day Mealbox

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Great Food!

3 course vegetarian meal, vegan & g/f option available (please request in the allergen info box at checkout).

Please collect in person from our Jericho Kitchen at 196-198 Edward Road, Balsall Heath, B12 9LX and heat at home. You will be able to choose a time slot to suit you best when you checkout your order.

Saturday 6th March, collection times are 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Monday 8th March, collection times are 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Allergens: contains soya, wheat, milk, mustard.

Please let us know during checkout if you have any other allergies or dietary requirements and we will be in touch by email, and do our very best to cater for you!

Please note order is for pickup in person from our Jericho Kitchen only.

Transform your life with running – a blogpost from the Ashiana Community Project

The benefits of physical activity are needed more so than ever in the current climate. The government has given the go ahead since the first lockdown to get outside for exercise one hour per day and this has become an opportunity and transformative time for many of us. Maybe we are actually seeing the value in getting outside and the benefits of getting outdoors have made us appreciate nature, appreciate the environment around us and raise our own awareness as the effects of being outdoors come rain, sun, snow, sleet or windy conditions has started to support our mental health and makes us feel less stressed, worried or anxious. If you are still sitting on the sofa contemplating …….stop and turn your thoughts into action. Spring is on the horizon and that’s another great reason to get some outdoor exercise, enjoy some warmer weather, lighter mornings and evenings. What’s stopping you?

Running can support weight loss and help us to improve our fitness levels with the aim to enhance our wellbeing. Running helps to relieve stress and literally allows you to let go of any stresses and worries and gives you the space to get a clearer perspective. Whatever your reasons for getting fit or losing weight, running can transform your life in many ways. The women in our community running groups have reaped all the benefits and have seen a significant change in themselves, such as feeling better in body and mind. Our women tell us their mood is uplifted, their energy levels shifted and their outlook to life much more positive. At ACP Women’s Wellbeing hub we have empowered women to run, jog, even a skip, hop and a jump at times! Our women’s run club has allowed our ladies to step out of their comfort zones at a pace that suits them, and we believe with patience, determination and a hope that things can change and anything is possible with the right mindset.  Prior to lockdown we would meet in the local park – Farm Park for a warm up before making our way down to the canal path for a 5k run, there’s no set distance but we decide on the day mutually. We used to get together Monday’s and Friday’s for a stretch, a chat and a run. Many women feel intimidated when they hear the word run because maybe they have a visualisation of a sports personality and they think running is out of their reach. Anyone can run, as long as they are physically able , you don’t need to be a Jennifer Ennis, you just need to be you! We lead and encourage our women to find a pace, a steady breath and we have fun, we laugh, we share parenting stories, beauty tips, recipes and health hacks. We have built a wonderful community of women who run regularly and attend our sessions because they are feeling the benefits and a making new friends and promoting community.

Since the restrictions we have set up a virtual club and we have now moved onto Whats App and been able to create a community through this platform, we record our runs using Strava and share and motivate one another. As a run lead and yoga teacher I have recorded and posted stretches and run warm ups to support women to ensure they are still getting a similar experience as if we were face to face. The fact that women are empowered enough to run on their own is a clear sign that the work we do to support health and wellness is making a positive impact in the community.

Sparkbrook, Bordesley Green and Balsall Heath East are areas of Birmingham synonymous with social deprivation and poverty  and some face barriers when accessing services that enhance their wellbeing because of a number of factors such as low income, high unemployment, lack of formal education or training therefore joining a gym may not be on their list of priorities. Most families are surviving with the resources they have and for some communication can be a barrier as English is not their first language. There may be cultural barriers and expectations that prevent families accessing the services that could potentially support them. At ACP Family Wellbeing Centre we work to support people in the community to ensure they have the means to access services that will support their overall health and wellbeing and we recognise that BAME community families don’t always know what is available to them. Our advice teams support families with accessing financial support by ensuring they are in receipt of the right benefits and have access to the streams of grants and funds available to them. The team speak community languages and this in itself gives families the confidence and reassurance in using the services.  We have supported hundreds of families through the pandemic in line with Covid rules. You can read our 100 days of Covid report here;

BAME women in particular who have joined in our services have transformed their outlook from spending time indoors, taking care of their families, children and responsibilities to also start to take care of themselves, by lacing up and heading out for fresh air and exercise. If you are a woman reading this and have always wanted to try running and need some motivation and inspiration, come and join our family, we welcome you with open arms! You could be anywhere in the country reading this and if you have access to What’s App you can take advantage of our women’s virtual run club. When the restrictions are lifted and life resumes back to a new normal and you live locally, then get in touch and join our free sessions. We would love to hear from you.

You can contact us at; 

Stay Safe

Stay Well 

Written by : Kam Bola

Women’s Wellbeing Coach

Standing Tall – employment for people experiencing homelessness

Standing Tall is a Birmingham based organisation matching individuals experiencing homelessness into stable living wage jobs in local businesses. We also provide a safe home for 6 months for each individual through our ‘Amici’ hosting service before they move on to their own accommodation. If you have empathy and a spare room, we can provide you with the training and income and you provide a safe home for someone changing their situation.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit:

Learn to code and change your life

If you’re facing barriers to getting a good job in tech,
CodeYourFuture’s free coding and employability
courses were made for you.

Join our free ‘Intro to Coding’ online workshop and find out why our coding courses are right for you.
  • Hear from Tech professionals about the opportunities in the local tech industry
  • Learn more about our courses and about important employability skills
  • Start coding right away and get help from the CodeYourFuture community
  • We teach HTML, CSS and JavaScript alongside valuable employability skills
  • We can provide laptops and funding towards internet access and childcare– We teach part-time over 9 months so study can fit around work and family life
  • No experience necessary – open to complete beginners aged 18+
  • Tailored to support disadvantaged groups such as refugees, asylum seekers, ex-offenders, single parents, those living below the poverty line, long term unemployed and others.

We are currently booking 30 minute info sessions for different groups on Zoom, where anybody interested can meet recent graduates, ask questions and find out what coding involves. We are booking these taster sessions through to the end of March.

More information here or you can book your place by contacting Claire at

Free training for Hall Green community organisations and groups

Hall Green Neighbourhood Network Scheme is running a programme of free training for community organisations, groups and individuals who are providing activities, services and support for older people. The training will cover a range of topics and will help local groups and organisations broaden their skills and enhance their offer, including responding to the challenges of operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read More

Balsall Heath Town Square

Birmingham City Council would like to progress detailed design of a proposal to create a new Town Square for Balsall Heath; and also implement some small Phase 1 streetscape improvements in preparation for the main scheme. Read on to learn more and complete the survey.

These plans are the result of consultation with local stakeholder and community groups, and we would now also like your comments on the vision – please see attached plans. 

Design and delivery of the Town Square will be informed by this consultation and be dependant on the funding available.  This scheme has the potential to form part of the landscape mitigation commitment of the Cross City bus scheme.


1. Retain and strengthen key elements contributing to the character of Balsall Heath local centre  Eg key historic buildings, trees, streets, local shops, cafes and businesses, and uses compatible with a ‘Town Square’

2. Improve physical and visual links for pedestrians between Moseley Baths and Art and cultural venues; and the local shops and restaurants.

3. Define and create a sense of place for local people and visitors through the creation of a new Town Square with focal point.  Reduce areas of tarmac highway, and increase size of one central area of safe attractive new public realm space for the community, allowing easier crossing of Hayden Way, and improving the quality of public realm outside Moseley Baths and Art venues, through to the local centre and businesses. 

4. Support improved environmental quality in cities through new street trees; improved air quality; more attractive amenity spaces and routes for walking, cycling, and sustainable travel; improved local distinctiveness and artistic input, as well as inclusive growth, and space for social interaction.

Early Phase 1 Works to be delivered Spring Summer 2021

Small streetscape improvements, primarily near Moseley Baths and towards the Town Square. Depending on funding available.

  • New low maintenance colourful planting in existing planting beds, and new stainless steel trip rails
  • Additional cycle stands near school
  • New surfacing to some areas of damaged paving.
  • New small upright trees in currently unfilled tree pits in pavement.

Why we are consulting

These plans have been developed with community groups. We would like the views of the wider community and your opinions on the proposed plans and possible future improvements.

Covid-19 updates – 19th February 2021

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health Birmingham, hosted a webinar on 18th February, in which Champions gave their thoughts about testing, describing their experiences and those of their communities.

Read More

Our Future City Plan Central Birmingham 2040 ‘Shaping Our City Together’

On Tuesday 26th January 2021 the Council launched the Our Future City Plan (OFCP): Central Birmingham 2040 ‘Shaping Our City Together’ engagement. The launch kick-started a series of events and conversations on the future development of Central Birmingham over the next 20 years.

We are asking for your feedback on the emerging new strategy for Central Birmingham as this will shape future statutory planning policy and guidance. ‘Shaping our City Together,’ is currently subject to public consultation until Friday 26th March 2021. You can access the Vision document by visiting our website on

Whilst a template for change has been outlined, it is not a final blueprint. The publication of this document is the beginning of a continuous process of engagement to ensure that all communities across Birmingham have an opportunity to shape and deliver our shared future.

You can get involved in the public consultation by:

The feedback received will support the production of the OFCP Draft Central Birmingham Framework to be launched in autumn 2021. Please share this with as many interested parties as possible as we would particularly welcome suggestions and comments from residents and local businesses to help shape change in central Birmingham.  

I encourage you to share your views and get involved to shape the future of Central Birmingham. If you would like to discuss further, please get in touch with Andrew Lindop at

Covid-19 Community Champion update

This is an update through Birmingham City Council’s ‘Covid-19 Community Champion’ scheme, published on 10th February.

Almost 12.3 million people have had their first vaccine dose in the UK. In Birmingham, more than 175,000 have had the vaccine, with over 80 per cent of 80-year-olds-plus, and over 95 per cent of care home residents, having had the first dose.

To view the latest statistics by ward, head to the Council’s Covid dashboard. Both Balsall Heath West and Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath East are sitting in the top ten of wards with the highest case rates per 100,000 residents.

To view webinars outlining some of the key issues and answering your questions, head to YouTube to explore videos from Birmingham’s Public Health Team.

There are now 56 pharmacies across Birmingham which offer lateral flow testing to those who do not have symptoms. Click here to find your nearest site and to share the link. (Sites taking appointments are in blue).

If you want to take on the role of sharing accurate and up to date information about Covid-19 and the vaccine roll out in our area, sign up to become a Covid-19 Community Champion.