Ten Ideas for Change: Birmingham and West Midlands
July 2, 2015
6. Bournville Village Trust: A model of integrated housing since 1900.
When George Cadbury began building homes for his factory workers and others in Bournville (pictured left) on the south side of Birmingham at the turn of the 19th century, he probably had little idea that the village would become a model for successful housing schemes more than 100 years later. The model village laid the foundations for the garden village movement and also for mixed communities, with a specification for a 50:50 mix of tenure that continues to this day. The village has one of the highest qualities of life in England and 95% of its residents describe is as a ‘good place to live’.
7. Turning Timebanking into a city-wide currency: Birmingham is developing a ‘whole city’ approach to boosting the city’s time economy. A number of timebanks across the city, including in Summerfield and Ladywood and Kings Heath will be connected together as a network to see how people across neighbourhoods could tap into the time economy. Some ideas are around building city-wide communities of interest through the timebank network, such as childcare or gardening groups.
8. The Jericho Foundation: Social enterprise creation to help disadvantaged people back to work: The Jericho Foundation, based in Balsall Heath, began as a drop in service for local people run from a church hall in the 1980s when unemployment was high. A skills shortage among the population was quickly identified and a fundraising mission was started to set up a training centre to improve local skills. Today the Foundation has a wide range of social enterprises – from printing services to catering and construction that employ disadvantaged people and help them gain skills and training. It works particularly with people who have significant barriers to gaining skills and employment and helps them through both real work experience and holistic support.
9. Holiday Kitchen: Combating hunger among school kids: Holiday Kitchen was set up by the Ashrammosely housing association in response to rising levels of hunger among poorer children outside of term time when they no longer had access to free school meals. Operating in Birmingham, Sandwell and north Solihull, it runs activity days that provide food as well as learning and play sessions during the school holidays.
10. Balsall Heath Forum: When the local council failed to do anything about the prostitution – and growing violence – in their neighbourhood, the community of Balsall Heath decided to do something about it. They formed Street Watch teams to sit on street corners and note down the registration numbers of cars coming into the red light district. From there the Balsall Heath Forum was created and became a model of community-run neighbourhood renewal that continues to thrive today. It is now one of the first areas in the country to pioneer neighbourhood planning, with a referendum on its plan due this September.
Clare Goff is Editor at New Start magazine