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Posted on 25th May 2012 by

West Bromwich Olympian Eddie Wedderburn to open Schoolympics, May 21.

Over 6,000 children from Birmingham are set to take part in the UK’s biggest Olympic school sports event this summer, organisers announced yesterday. Over the next two months, pupils from 17 primary schools across Handsworth will be coming together to participate in the “Schoolympics” — described as an “explosion of colour, youthfulness and excitement” to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games. Youngsters aged between five and 11 will engage in 16 different sporting events such as gymnastics, athletics, archery, football and BMX cycling — with the winners receiving medals especially designed by pupils.

The Schoolympics programme — which runs until July — will be officially launched on Monday, May 21 at a “glittering” opening ceremony in West Bromwich. Special guests include BBC correspondent and High Sheriff of Birmingham Anita Bhalla, who is part of the UK Olympic Committee, and Birmingham-born British Olympian Eddie Wedderburn. A spokesperson for event organisers the Handsworth Association of Schools (HAS) — an educational charity which comprises 24 primary, six secondary and one special school in the area — says the massive project is an “incredible opportunity to inspire young people with the Olympic spirit”.

Anita Harding, HAS Strategic Manager said: “We believe that the Schoolympics is the biggest Olympic programme involving primary schools in the whole of the country and our teachers, children and staff cannot wait to get our celebration off the starting line. “Once-in-a-lifetime tournaments such as the Olympic Games not only showcase the nation but also have huge potential for engaging and reaching young people in a way few other events can.

“The project is a fantastic way to mark the London Olympics in a memorable way and over the next few month it will inspire over 6,000 young people in Birmingham to share in the incredible Olympic spirit of achievement and co-operation.” Recent research by educational charity the Centre for British Teaching (CfBT) shows that ‘mega-events’ such as the Olympics can have long-lasting educational benefits. For example, they can be used to increase participation in school sports and exercise, promote values of teamwork and friendship, and teach children about collaboration and citizenship, culture and enterprise, and internationalism.

For the Schoolympics event — which run from May 22 to July 5 — all the schools involved will each be adopting an Olympic country and exploring their history and culture. Each individual school will also be marking the event by holding their own ‘Schoolympic’ torch events and flag carrying ceremonies. Secondary schools in Handsworth are also engaged in the project and will be offering their facilities and resources for the hosting of sporting events.

In addition, young sports leaders from the secondary schools will be acting as marshals and role models at the events, which include handball, volleyball, indoor rowing, netball, multi-skills, cricket, triathlon, tri-golf, tennis, badminton and hockey. “Handsworth is a multi-cultural neighbourhood with a richness of culture and diversity. Unfortunately, in recent years it has been known more for its issues around gangs and drugs than sense of community,” said HAS Chair, Moira Foster Brown.

“We hope the Handsworth Schoolympics will help change this, providing a platform for the children and young people of Handsworth to truly reflect the positive work happening and show real ‘unity in the community’. “HAS intends to make the most of the Olympics as a focal point for youth activity — encouraging participation in school sports and physical exercise, and giving children a chance to become more involved with countries from around the globe.”

At the opening ceremony, taking place on May 21 from 6–7.30pm at Bethel Convention Centre, more than 750 pupils, parents, carers and staff will be entertained with music, dancing and drama inspired by the adopted Olympic countries. Guests speakers Anita Bhalla and Eddie Wedderburn will be appearing alongside Schoolympics mascot ‘Whistle’, and all schools will also be singing a specially-commissioned Schoolympics anthem. Retired athlete and West Bromwich resident Wedderburn, who represented Great Britain in the men’s 3000 metres Steeplechase at the 1988 Olympics Games in Seoul, said: “Nothing compares to the Olympics for uniting people and communities through sports and culture, and I am therefore delighted to be part of this important event teaching children true Olympic values.”



Next edition of the Hands on Handsworth magazine out in August

Posted on 2nd August 2011 by

The Carnival is returning to Handsworth this August and the anticipation and excitement from local residents in the build up to the big event is now at boiling point . The next edition of the Hands on Handsworth magazine features a great story on the Carnival with Professor Black, a carnival costume designer, giving a real sense of what this momentous occasion means to the community and to get a brief insight behind the scenes; highlighting the hard work and dedication needed to bring the Carnival alive. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!

We also sent journalists and photographers along to the Simmer Down Festival in July and the summer edition of the magazine includes a great feature on this.

The magazine also showcases some of the wealth of creative talent the area has to offer with articles on Willard Wigan and other artists from the area.

Hands on Handsworth also ran a blogging session for the journalists in July so the blog should start to come together soon.

The magazine will be out in early August and you can pick one up from many different venues in Handsworth including Handsworth Library, fast food places, hairdressers and the Community Fire Station.

The journalists (all volunteers remember!) have been working exceptionally hard bringing the stories and images together for this edition so a big thank you goes out to all those that have contributed to the magazine. Remember, we are always looking for local stories so get in touch if you have any.

Enjoy the Carnival!



Local community action at its best in Handsworth

Posted on 21st May 2011 by

I attended a community event this morning which I was invited to held in Brunswick Gardens in Handsworth.

Local residents have been working for months with West Midlands Police, Midlands Heart, Groundwork and Birmingham City council to claim back the alleyways that run between Albert Rd and Herbert Rd.

Through neighbourhood management we were able to get some funding to clean up the area and put in new fences and get an alcohol restriction sign up.  

At the end of neighbourhood management local residents led by Sonia Hymen, Marlene Graham and Selwyn Clarke were keen to keep on with their plans to transform this area.

They have been working with Wilkes Green Infants School and Groundwork to create some mosaics which have just been fitted on site this week.

In the next few weeks the iron art panels will be fitted along the metal fence to really help change the feel of the alleyway when you walk through. The designs have been chosen by local people and represent the diversity and culture of Handsworth; Handsworth park, Handsworth carnival, Vaisakhi, cricket & music etc.  

These will be painted once they go up lovely bright colours.

Slowly but surely residents plans to improve this area are beginning to take real shape. Sometimes it is these small things that make a big difference to local people so it was great to see how wonderful the mosaics look. It was also great to see so many kids enjoying the games provided by Groundwork Street games team.

Next steps for the residents is to try and get agreements in place to keep the alleyways clean and  to take over management of the small piece of land adjacent to the alleyway. Good to see the residents supported by the new councillor for Lozells and East Handsworth Waseem Zaffer and Srg Dan Wickenden & PCSO Stacie Muir from West Midlands Police.

Election Results – for wards in Handsworth

Posted on 6th May 2011 by

The results of the local elections 2011 are available on the Birmingham City Council Elections website

Lozells & Handsworth – Labour candidate Waseem Zaffer won 71.0% of the vote (elected as new councillor)

Handsworth Wood – Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton won 50.8% of the vote

Soho Ward – Labour candidate Cybil Spence won 72.1% of the vote

Results for the referendum haven’t been declared yet –check here for updates

BRMB Walkathon 2011 through Handsworth this Sunday May 8th

Posted on 6th May 2011 by

This year’s Walkathon is all in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital – and to help rebuild the Emergency Department.

It is this Sunday May the 8th – visit the BRMB website for more details

Part of the route is through Handsworth click here to see the route and how to join

SEVEN UP Community Group is Sowing the Seeds of Success

Posted on 21st April 2011 by

Children, the Seven Up team will tell you, do not come in boxes, nor do they fit in boxes. In 2005 this group of Handsworth families set about creating alternative environments and stretch to fit services to help local children and young people to flourish and grow. On Thursday 21st April between 1pm and 2pm, Seven Up is celebrating seven years of delivering inclusive weekend, afterschool and holiday play opportunities. There will be also be a community lunch to launch the Secret Garden Inclusive Community Play Space that the group have funded and developed in a plot of disused land alongsideRookery Road Children’s Centre.

Seven Up are also shouting about the success of the Children in Need bid they wrote for Rookery School which will provide £10,000 a year for three years to help fund an inclusive community after school provision called Tuesdays Child. This community play initiative will give priority access to local children with additional needs that may face barriers to their potential to achieve, participate and belong.

Seven Up have raised over £150, 000 over seven years of struggling, juggling and sheer determination to keep local children growing through play and leisure opportunities. The group have been supported from their beginnings by Dens of Equality, Birmingham’s inclusion development agency.

The new Secret Garden designed and installed by Outerscapes has been funded with a grant from the Be Birmingham Successful Neighbourhoods Fund, Short breaks funding from the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust and Dens of Equality. Many thanks also go to Travis Perkins for their extremely generous donations to this project. Seven Up play services have been funded by Short Breaks for disabled children from Birmingham City Council, Hand in Hand extended schools cluster funding, Grassroots Birmingham Foundation grants and Awards for All lottery contributions amongst others.

Seven Up will be delivering regular out of school services in the new Secret Garden and fundraising for a playhouse so that they can deliver outdoors in all weather from the autumn. Seven Up always gives priority access to local children with individual needs that may not access other services but the group is not exclusive and welcomes many local children reflecting the rich mix of our local community.

From September the group hope to extend Playing Up, a pilot afterschool playcare provision, they have trialled recently. Families that have children with additional needs often cannot go to work because they cannot find any suitable tailor made childcare that will meet their children needs. Seven Up is working to fill this gap and also provide a Tuesday nurturing nest where children in need of play can be referred by specialist services.

Seven Up group are looking to work with LOCAL businesses to sponsor building their garden and funding any hours of play delivery to help local children GROW. Sponsors will be included in widespread promotional material, and team uniforms in addition to receiving free invitations for their business to next years large scale community ball.

If you would like to attend the community lunch on Thursday or would like to talk more about sponsoring Seven Up please call Adele Cleaver on 07772216833 or email

Hands on Handsworth Community Journalism update

Posted on 15th April 2011 by

The community journalism project  is going from strength to strength as we now have a core team of talented and knowledgable journalists to generate content for both the magazine and the blog. I know we’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging but I and the team will be uploading a lot more content over the next couple of months. Tracey Thorne left her post last month and we all wish her well in her new role although she will still be part of the steering group  and play an integral role in the project. Tracey has been instrumental in getting this off the ground so we want to do her and the project proud by continuing her good work.

City College have kindly donated a temporary office space for the journalists to use as a place to research, carry out tasks and write and develop stories and ideas for the magazine. I would like to thank Anthony Gribben, Carole Douglas and the rest of the staff at City College for helping us set up the office which can now be used by the journalists. We are getting a phone line and internet connection this week. Very exciting!

There are still lots of things to do and things that are needed for the project such as new computers but we will take it step by step and with the support of local people and organisations we can only improve and look for ways to continue the project after August 2011.

We are starting to design the next edition of the magazine over the next couple of weeks so keep a look out for the April edition. We are still looking for contributors, photgraphers, designers, and anyone who wants to take part to help find the best and most interesting stories in Handsworth. It doesn’t matter if your literacy skills are not that great, as we just need characters with good ideas and imagination to find stories and make Hands on Handsworth a magazine everyone wants to get their hands on.

If you would like to be a part of the team, have ideas for stories or would like further information then please contact Karl Greenwood at karlgreenwood@multistory,

Local Elections & Referendum

Posted on 14th April 2011 by

The local elections are being held on the 5th May for information on the elections you can visit the Birmingham City Council Local Election pages.

Handsworth falls between three wards; Handsworth Wood, Lozells and East Handsworth and Soho. Each ward has three elected members. On the 5th of  depending on which ward you live in – you can vote for 1 candidate from the list for that ward.

The nominations for each of the three wards are;  

Persons nominated – Handsworth Wood
Other names in full
Home address in full Description (if any)
Kingsley Seymour
8 Island Road,
B21 8NP
Liberal Democrats
Rabinder Singh
12 The Slieve,
Handsworth Wood,
B20 2NR
The Conservative Party
348 Sarehole Road,
B28 0AQ
Green Party Candidate
* Hamilton
Paulette Adassa
821 Chester Road,
B24 0BX
The Labour Party Candidate
Persons nominated – Lozells and East Handsworth
Other names in full
Home address in full Description (if any)
129 Bacchus Road,
B18 4QR
The Conservative Party
46 Stamford Road,
B20 3PN
Liberal Democrat
215 Hubert Road,
Selly Oak,
B29 6ES
Green Party Candidate
123 Leonard Road,
B19 1JH
The Labour Party Candidate
Persons nominated – Soho
Other names in full
Home address in full Description (if any)
Steven John
30 Lansdowne House,
Great Colmore Street,
B15 2AR
Green Party
Robert John
172 Poplar Avenue,
B17 8EP
The Conservative Party
* Spence
Sybil Eurlena
69 Babington Road,
B21 0QD
The Labour Party Candidate
23 Willes Road,
Winson Green,
B18 4PZ
Liberal Democrat

Election results will appaer on the local elections home page as they come in click here

 On Thursday 5 May 2011, there will be a referendum on the voting system you use to elect MPs to the House of Commons.

To find out more to help you make a decision about how to vote you can  watch the May 5 Referendum short video

For information on women and electrol refrom visit the Fawcett Society

Why electrol reform matters to Britains Black community visit the OBV site

Electrol reform popular with young people visit British Youth Council

Electrol Reform Society

#We are what we Tweet and Hands on #Handsworth Blog

Posted on 31st March 2011 by

We Are What We Tweet event is being organised by BCU MA Social Media Students. It looks like an interesting event and is mainly about; a practical exploration of how social media is being used to drive change, tell stories and provide a commentary on our lives, the event will consider a number of recent high profile world events. Key speakers from a range of backgrounds will explain how social media influenced those events and discussion will consider what lessons we can apply to our own lives.

One of the organisers is Noha Atef local Handsworth resident. I have been aksed to go along and talk about my experience of setting up the Hands on Handsworth blog and how this has been successful over the last 12 months. Its a free event so if you would like to come along you can register here

The event is on Friday 8th April from 9.30 @ 

BIAD (Birmingham Institute for Art & Design)
Margaret Street
B3 3BX

Co-Producing the Big Society 18th & 19th March

Posted on 10th March 2011 by

On Friday 18th March, Be Birmingham will be hosting a summit on the Big Society.  In the afternoon, Resident University will be following up some the questions, issues and themes raised at the summit.  In particular, how residents and public services can coproduce the Big Society together.

Those attending the summit are all welcome to join this event which is organised by Chamberlain Forum.

Join Resident University on Friday Afternoon For:

  • Lord Nat Wei, government advisor for the Big Society, speaking about the part community groups play in making the Big Society, and how government can support them
  • Sessions highlighting what residents are already doing in relations to community organising, Timebanking, Developing Community Hubs and Social Innovation
  • Discussion of the future of N’hood Management in Birmingham

And join Resident University on Saturday for:

  • Ed Mayo, sec-general of Co-operatives UK, and Cllr Rachel Hayward of Lambeth Council looking at the ‘Co-operative Council’ idea developed in Lambeth
  • Sessions looking at the Localism Bill, N’hood Websites, Commissioning Community groups to deliver public services and a study visit to Balsall Heath
  • A discussion on the role of faith communities in neighbourhood renewal and management

Places are FREE to people that live and work in Birmingham

To book a place, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch with further details as soon as they are confirmed.  Alternatively, you can email us via, or call us on 07795 448 462