B31 Blog Has MOVED!

14 Oct

Please visit our new sparkly site at b31.org.uk

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Thanks for reading!


City Council Want Your Bra!

12 Oct


Bra recycling challenge

University of Birmingham students Eleanor Bower, Laura Bass and Vicki Holmes join Sharon Lea (Birmingham City Council's Strategic Director of Environment and Culture) to promote the council's Olympic-inspired bra recycling challenge. (Image courtesy of BCC News Room)


Yes, you read that right! (I’m going to try very hard to avoid any distasteful punnery here!)

Birmingham City Council launched bra recycling bins last month, and they have already been stuffed with over a thousand unwanted bras. The innovative bra recycling scheme raises funds for Breast Friends, a Sutton Coldfield based group offering support to women with breast cancer. The bras are sold to traders in developing countries via a local recycling company, meaning women in these countries gain access to garments they might not normally be able to afford.

BCC are asking the women of Birmingham for a marathon effort in collecting and recycling even more bras. Literally. They want to try and collect enough bras to stretch the length of an olympic marathon, 26 miles and 385 yards, before the start of the games in London in 2012. This would mean a donation of 46,145 unwanted bras in the next 22 months!

So if you have any such garments that you no longer need, you can take them to the Bra Bank at Sainsburys on Frankley Beeches Road in Northfield.

Strategic Director for Environment and Culture at Birmingham City Council, Sharon Lea, said “I urge everyone to take up our challenge and enable Birmingham to go for gold with our marathon challenge between now and 2012.”


via birminghamnewsroom.com

Full list of citywide bra recycling points – tell your friends!

– Sainsbury’s, Castle Vale Retail Park, Chester Road, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 6HB
– Sainsbury’s, 1059-1061 Alcester Road South, Maypole, Birmingham, B14 5TN
– Sainsbury’s, Frankley Beeches Road, Northfield, Birmingham, B31 5AA
– Tesco, Ridgeacre Road, Quinton, Birmingham, B32 1EG
– Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre, Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, B14 6ER
– Tesco, Coleshill Road, Hodge Hill, Birmingham, B36 8DT
– Sainsbury’s, 1 Chapel Lane, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6SJ
– Lidl, 33 Kings Road, Sutton Coldfield, B73 5AB
– Silver Street Pay & Display car park, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7QU
– Four Oaks railway station car park, Off Lichfield Road, (A5127), Four Oaks, Birmingham, B74 2TD
– Tesco, 278-299 Aston Lane, Witton, Birmingham, B5 5QR.


Got Issues?

12 Oct

Do you have issues you want to raise about your local area? Want to know what your local councillors and police officers are doing?

West Midlands Police hold regular “Meet and Greet” sessions where you can go along and meet your local officers and discuss any issues with them. If you feel a councillor may be better suited to help, then all of Northfield & Longbridge wards’ councillors are available to talk to you at frequent advice bureaux.

In addition, police & councillors get together at least once a month for neighbourhood tasking meetings which are open to the public.

We’ve detailed sessions to be held through until the end of  November and will aim to keep you up to date monthly. If you’d like to check details and see what issues have already been raised, please take a look at the links provided at the end of this article.


Longbridge Neighbourhood Police ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions:

  • Monday 1st November 10am – 12 noon at Frankley Community Library, New Street B45 0EU

Longbridge Councillors’ Advice Bureaux:

  • Details of advice bureaux with Cllrs Keith Barton (Con), Ian Cruise (Lab) & Ken Wood (Con) can be found here

Longbridge Neighbourhood Tasking Meetings:

  • Wednesday 17th November 7.30pm at Colmers Farm School and Sports College, East Hall, Bristol Road South B45 9NY


Northfield Neighbourhood Police ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions:

  • Friday 22nd October 9-11am at Albert Bradbeer Family Centre, Longbridge Lane, Longbridge
  • Friday 26th November 9-11am at Albert Bradbeer Family Centre, Longbridge Lane, Longbridge

Northfield Councillors’ Advice Bureaux:

  • Details of advice bureaux with Cllrs Randall Brew (Con), Reg Corns (Con) & Les Lawrence (Con) can be found here

Northfield Neighbourhood Tasking Meetings:

  • Thursday 14th October 7pm at Baptist Church, 276 Turves Green, Northfield
  • Friday 29th October 7pm at Northfield Fire Station, Bristol Road South
  • Thursday 25th November 7pm at Northfield Fire Station, Bristol Road South

Useful Links

WM Police Longbridge Neighbourhood

WM Police Northfield Neighbourhood

Longbridge Councillors

Northfield Councillors

Longbridge Labour Movement Blog

Longbridge Conservatives blog


Frankley CLC Funding Doubts

10 Oct

Students currently studying at the pioneering City Learning Centre in Frankley are in doubt of what their future holds.

In September 2008, Frankley CLC started piloting The 14-19 Higher Level Diploma in Engineering, taking its first 32 students from five local schools. The centre is also involved with other exciting and innovative projects, such as F1 in Schools,  E-Missions in partnership with the National Space Centre and the Netbooks Project.

The Year 11 group of 09-10 was the first to complete the Diploma and they graduated with the highest grades in the UK, many wishing to go on to study the Advanced level. The CLC was established with central government funding as part of the Labour government’s Excellence in Cities scheme.

Labour councillor for Longbridge, Ian Cruise told me, “Imagine the shock when at the Diploma presentation, I found that funding has been pulled from March 2011. This will mean there is only enough money to fund the CLC until the end of this academic year. The current year 11 students will be able to complete their diploma, however the year 10 will be left in the lurch.”

Councillor Cruise is hoping to help the centre to secure funding so it may continue to thrive,  “I have raised the issue with both Richard Burden [Labour MP for Northfield] and the Shadow Ministerial team whist at [Labour party]conference. We will be lobbying hard to get the decision reversed.”

Northfield’s Arts Champions

7 Oct

Birmingham City Council’s Arts Champions Scheme brings the arts to all areas of the city by partnering respected arts organisations from the city with each of Birmingham’s constituencies.

These “Arts Champions” bring new events, advice and activities to their partnered communities.

Northfield has been partnered with Birmingham Repertory Theatre since 2008. The Rep has brought theatre, workshops & education into the local community over the period of the partnership, including the Sparks Toy Theatre Project with local schools.

The Rep also offers specially discounted tickets to some performances as part of their Northfield Nights scheme. Residents of Northfield constituency (including the wards of Northfield, Longbridge, Kings Norton and Weoley) can purchase up to four tickets for Northfield Nights performances at the discounted rates. Visit the site for details or call the box office on 0121 236 4455 for details.

From April 2011,until 2014, Northfield will have new Arts Champion partners: The Ikon Gallery and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

We look forward to finding out what these fantastic arts organisations can bring to Northfield.

The World at 4am

27 Sep
4am Project: Birmingham: Counting seconds...

Image by sastaylor.co.uk

What does your world look like at 4am?

After going out around Birmingham at 4am to capture life during this magical hour, photographer Karen Strunks posted the resulting images on her blog and wrote about her experiences. After a positive response from blog readers &  twitter followers, she decided to set up the 4am Project.

The project encourages photographers of all abilities to get up, get out (or stay in!) and help document what the world is like at 4am. A flickr group and the 4am Project website pools these images from around the globe.

Karen has since arranged several 4am Project dates, organising and encouraging meet ups of photographers in Birmingham and beyond, including a 4am trip to Birmingham Wholesale Markets and one to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The project has gained support from 4iP, Screen WM and Advantage West Midlands.

The next 4am Project date is 17th October 2010. Karen will be in New York at the time, working on her new photographic project The Big Apple Unpeeled.

We’d love to see your pictures of the Northfield, Rubery, Frankley, Longbridge area at 4am, like this one from a previous project date by local photographer Adrian Burrows.

Frankley Beeches No2

Frankley Beeches at 4am | Image courtesy of adrian-burrows.co.uk

So get out into your street, or high streeet, or local park, or garden, or even do something artistic in the warmth of your home! You don’t have to have an amazing camera, use any camera you have, even a cameraphone! It’s not just about stunning images, it’s about recording a space in time we don’t normally see. Upload your 4am pictures to flickr (you can set up an account for free, if you don’t already have one) and add them to the 4am Project group & the B31blog group. If you can’t make it on October 17th, you can add pictures from any day, so long as they were taken between 4-5am.

We look forward to seeing your pictures!

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