Category Archives: Community

Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.
This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team is celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to Walsall. To mark this occasion the team is launching a tour of the Silver Thread Tapestries – eleven unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough, created by an army of local volunteers.

The tapestries will be on display in the New Art Gallery Walsall from 21 – 29 January 2017 and will then move to various locations around the borough (see list of dates at the end of this feature) before being displayed at the NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show 17 – 19 March 2017. Commemorative postcards depicting each of the tapestries will be available to buy.

Community and heritage

To help decide what to feature on the tapestries, workshops were held around the borough in early 2016 and attended by local community groups, history groups, and individuals with an interest in local culture and history.  The Bloxwich Telegraph’s editor, Stuart Williams, also acted as an historical advisor to the project.

Each area of the borough had its own story to tell, whether it be the Pelsall poppies, meeting under the clock in Willenhall market place or the excitement when Cilla came for the first Blind Date wedding. The tapestries also focus on famous and/or historically significan faces from across Walsall borough, including Pat Collins, Ellie Simmonds, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Meera Syal, Sir Harry Smith Parkes and Rob Halford, to name but a few.

Once the content was decided, midlands artist Hunt Emerson, famous for being an artist on the Beano comic, created the designs for the 11 tapestries.

An army of volunteers
Some of the many sewers and their tapestries!
Some of the many sewers and their tapestries!

The call was then put out to local people, whether experienced in tapestry work or not, to come forward to take part in the project. Around 100 experienced volunteers worked hard on the project for around ten months, with a further 100 playing a smaller part. Each of the 11 tapestries are the result of around 2,000 hours of work – an incredible commitment from the volunteers.

Councillor Julie Fitzpatrick, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said:

“The tapestries take your breath away – they’re absolutely stunning. The volunteers have really done Walsall proud.”

“Apart from creating this wonderful legacy for Walsall, what’s lovely is the friendships made during the sewing, which will continue going forwards.”

Lottery funded

The project received Arts Council England Lottery Funding of £73,740 to deliver a unique year long community arts project for Walsall Borough.

Book commemorates the Creative Development Team
Walsall Silver Thread Project marks 25 years of the Creative Development Team
Walsall Silver Thread Project marks 25 years of the Creative Development Team

Creating the tapestries also provided the common thread to produce a commemorative book. The book features 25 of the Creative Development Team’s hundreds of participatory arts projects including the Brownhills Miner, involving thousands of local people from the 25 year history of the team’s work projects.

The book tells the story of engaging creative processes and the impact participatory arts have made in Walsall’s communities across an area so diverse in history, heritage and geography.

The Silver Thread Tapestries and the book project demonstrate how the Creative Development Team have been a thread linking people, places and policies and instigating positive change in communities. The team wished to celebrate and bring to life that thread and show people how we have sewn it.

For more information, see the project’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Walsall-Silver-Thread-Tapestries-Project-1694681744103438/

The Silver Thread Tapestries Tour

Members of the public can view the amazing tapestries in person at the venues below – photographs simply cannot do justice to the quality of the artistry and sewing, so don’t miss your chance to see them!

21 -29 Jan           New Art Gallery Walsall, Gallery Square WS2

Opening times 10am – 5pm Tues – Saturdays

12pm – 4pm Sundays

2  – 7 Feb             St Matthews Church St Matthews Close WS1 3DG

Viewing times: 2 and 3 Feb 3pm – 4.30pm

Sat 4 Feb 10.30am -2pm

Sun 5 Feb 12pm – 2pm

Mon 6 and Tues 7 Feb 10.30am – 4.30pm

8 – 14 Feb            Pheasey Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2- 4pm

15 – 21 Feb         Willenhall Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2am- 4pm

22 – 28 Feb         Pelsall Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2pm- 4pm

1   –  16 March    Central Library Walsall

Opening times Tues – Fri 8.30am – 6pm

Sat 8.30am – 5pm

Sun 1pm – 4pm

17 – 19 March      NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show

Opening times 9.30am – 5.30pm (5pm Sun)

Tickets £12 (£11 Seniors)

 

Pictures courtesy Walsall Council

Leamore residents group are clean and green!

Leamore councilors and residents tackling anti-social behaviour and lettering (pic: Walsall Council Labour Group).
Leamore councilors and residents tackling anti-social behaviour and lettering (pic: Walsall Council Labour Group).

A new community group has been set up in Leamore to improve community safety and the environment.  The Leamore Community Group covers the whole of Leamore and meets regularly  at the community room of the  Leamore  tenant management organisation (TMO)  in Pembroke House, Comwall Close.

The group has only been running a couple of months but has already run a successful speed campaign in Somerfield Road, working with local businesses to ease traffic problems and lobbying Walsall council on the sale of alcohol when licensing shops in the area. 

Chris Jones, Councillor for Birchills-Leamore, said:  “We helped to set up this group in response to the many enquiries received by my colleagues, Cllrs Tina Jukes and Lee Jeavons.  Anti-social behaviour and littering are problems within the Leamore area so we decided to replicate the success of a similar group that I have helped run in the Birchills area for many years.”

“By coordinating the services of the council, police and the residents committee at the TMO we hope to make real improvements for the residents and businesses of Leamore. But any group is only as good as the people that are involved so we are asking people to join up and help us deliver a better Leamore for all.”

Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month and organisers can be contacted on 07713 669706.

After the Oscars – here come the Doras!

Sister Dora looks humbly down on the town she made her own (pic: Stuart Williams)
Sister Dora looks humbly down on the town she made her own (pic: Stuart Williams)

Preparations are under way for the eleventh annual Mayor of Walsall’s Civic Awards which is being held at Walsall Town Hall on Friday 20 March 2015.

Walsall-born TV presenter Bob Warman returns as the celebrity compere since his last appearance in 2013. Mr Warman started his career as a journalist with the Walsall Observer and is now the senior presenter of ITV Central which broadcasts nightly to over a million viewers in the Midlands.

The awards, which are known as the Doras after nursing heroine Sister Dora, aim to recognise unsung heroes who work tirelessly to help others who are working to improve the lives of others in the borough and make people proud of Walsall.

Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)
Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)

The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Pete Smith, said: “I am delighted that Bob has agreed to host this year’s awards as he is the most instantly recognised media face in Central England.

“He has hosted the awards in 2008, 2009 and in 2013 and is always brilliant on the night so we are delighted that he has agreed to host the awards again.

“We are really excited for the big night and I’m really looking forward to our unsung heroes getting the recognition they so richly deserve, hosted by one of the borough’s own success stories.”

The awards are sponsored by APCOA Parking, Barhale Construction plc, DWF LLP, The Mid Counties Co-operative and whg. They judged the entries and chose the finalists in January. The finalists, who have all been notified, will be announced soon.

Community Question Time for the Bloxwich area – live web chat tonight

WM Police Contact Centre.

North Walsall Area Partnership is offering a live web chat at this evening’s Area Community Meeting so that residents who are unable to attend in person can still ask questions via a live web chat.

The communities of Birchills, Leamore, Blakenall Heath, and Bloxwich are invited to attend the Question Time event where they can meet and directly ask senior managers from Walsall Council, West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police, NHS Walsall and Social Landlord(s) any questions they have about community safety or anti-social behaviour.

The event, which is taking place today (Monday 18 March), will also include a digital section of the meeting to complement the traditional question time event. The live web chat will commence at 7.15pm and will last approximately forty five minutes.

Councillor Zahid Ali, cabinet member for Public Protection  at Walsall Council and Chair of Safer Walsall Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity for local people to discuss with senior partnership officers any community safety concerns or issues.

“The live web chat will enable those who are unable to attend these meetings the opportunity to ask questions and engage with senior managers from the police, local council and our partner agencies.”

Officers in attendance will include Chief Superintendent David Sturman and Walsall Council’s Executive Director Jamie Morris.  Ward councillors will also be present during the event.

Borough Commander David Sturman, said: “Virtual neighbourhood meetings mean that we can conduct live web chats with members of the public literally by the touch of a button.

“There is the potential to reach hundreds of members of the public who traditionally never engage with partners or attend public meetings.”

The web chats are simple to use. Members of the public submit their community safety or anti-social behaviour queries or questions over the internet (using the link below) and the panel will answer as many of them as possible during web chat.

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/np/walsall/findoutmore/live-chat.asp

Questions may also be viewable live on The Bloxwich Telegraph in a window below:

Remodeled Bloxwich ASDA rewards loyal customers

Asda Bloxwich rewards loyal customers
Asda Bloxwich rewards loyal customers [left to right] Jean Cartwright, Brett Matthews (store manager), Maureen Allport, Rob Hendon (community colleague), Jeanette Peach.
1971 was the year that saw the launch of the Microprocessor, the birth of Greenpeace, Thatcher scrap free milk in schools and the opening of the Asda superstore in Bloxwich – the first in the borough.

It was the cause of much comment at the time, as the family of the late fairground mogul, MP, Liberal Councillor and Mayor of Walsall Pat Collins, having left the area, sold the ground, which had been used as the Wakes Ground and Pat’s yard since before the Great War, to Associated Dairies (Asda).  Pat’s former home, Lime Tree House, was demolished shortly after, and the site of the Victorian house is now occupied by Sound Academy on the Asda car park.

Pat Collins' Wakes Ground, now the Asda site, 1949.
Pat Collins’ Wakes Ground, now the Asda site, 1949.

Now, after serving the community for more than thirty years, the Woodhall Street store has undergone a refresh and remodel and has rewarded some loyal locals as part of the celebrations.

Jeanette Peach, Maureen Allport and Jean Cartwright were recently invited to Asda Bloxwich by store manager Brett Matthews to receive a special trolley full of products from Asda’s Extra Special range, in recognition of their loyalty as customers since the doors first opened.

The three Bloxwich residents were given a personal tour of the store’s facelift by the store manager, with the alterations aimed at giving its loyal customers new facilities to use such as a brand new pharmacy, increased product ranges, as well as a nicer shopping experience through increased space and design changes.

Jeanette Peach said:

“All three of us are extremely grateful for Asda’s gesture. It’s very kind of the store and it’s nice to know people are recognised for their custom. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re looking forward to tucking in to our treats.”

As the standout addition in the store’s remodel, the new pharmacy will provide free Body Mass Index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checks for the community, as well as filling prescriptions and all day-to-day health products.

Brett Matthews, Asda Bloxwich store manager, said:

“We’re really pleased to have been able improve the shopping experience for our customers, many of whom have been visiting us since the doors opened, and provide new facilities for them to use such as the pharmacy.

“It has been a joy to present Jeanette, Maureen and Jean with their Extra Special trolleys and I hope the remodel meets with their approval as long-standing customers. Our goal is to provide great value and services to the community, so we hope our customers enjoy the new look store, the extended ranges and increased space to shop in.”

Nominations needed as ‘Doras’ draw near

Mayor's Civic Awards

People have just under a month left to come up with nominations for Walsall Metropolitan Borough’s unsung heroes who deserve to win a special Mayoral accolade.

The ninth Mayor of Walsall’s Civic Awards is being held at Banks’s Stadium on Friday, 23 November 2012, and the closing date for nominations is Friday 10 August.

The awards are known as the “Doras” in honour of Walsall nursing heroine Sister Dora and aim to shine the spotlight on inspirational residents of the borough who make a difference to the lives of others or who have clocked up personal achievements.

The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Dennis Anson, said: “There’s just under a month left to make nominations for my civic awards and I ask people to set aside some time to do so.

“We have some wonderful people in Walsall who do so much for others and never ask for recognition or thanks for their efforts. This event is all about acknowledging their contribution to their communities or their personal achievements – often in the face of adversity.

“With the focus on the Olympics this year I would particularly like to see some more entries for Walsall’s Outstanding Sporting Achievement but all seven categories are important.”

The seven categories are:

  • Walsall’s Young Citizen of the Year
  • Walsall’s Outstanding Sporting Achievement
  • Walsall’s Creative Spirit Award
  • Walsall’s Inspiring Teacher
  • Walsall’s Community Contribution
  • Walsall’s Green Award
  • Walsall’s Lifetime Achievement Award

People can nominate worthy winners online by going to www.walsall.gov.uk/nomination-applications or complete  a hard copy of the nomination form which is available by contacting Jo Whitehouse in democratic services on 01922 654368.

Walsall Partnership public Community Meetings

 

Walsall Partnership logo

Walsall Communities and Partnerships bring together different parts of our local community – public services, local businesses, community groups, voluntary sector organisations and local people.

Local partners have been working to help organisations and individuals work together in a co-ordinated way to plan local services, tackle the issues that matter to local people and improve quality of life in Walsall .

The aim of partnership working in Walsall is to help to create a cleaner, greener and safer Walsall.

Area Partnerships were established in 2010 to bring together local people, the council and its partners including local councillors, the Police, NHS Walsall, housing provider, community organisations and others to work closely and effectively within local communities. There are now six Area Partnerships across Walsall actively seeking the views of communities and partners to ensure that the needs of local people are being met.

For more information about Walsall Partnership, please visit their website at www.walsallpartnership.org.uk

The following public meetings organised by Walsall Partnership may be of interest to local residents wanting to find out more, ask questions or raise local issues. 

PUBLIC MEETINGS

North Walsall (Bloxwich East, Bloxwich West, Blakenall Heath, Birchills-Leamore) Community Meeting on 26 June 2012 at Blakenall Village Centre, Thames Road, Blakenall Heath.

Brownhills, Pelsall, Rushall & Shelfield Community Meeting on 26 June 2012 at Pelsall Commmunity Association, Station Road, Pelsall, WS3 4BQ.

Aldridge & Beacon Community Meeting on 26 June Streetly Community Association, Foley Road East, Streetly.

Walsall South on 3 July 2012 at Walsall Council House.

Darlaston & Bentley on 27 June 2012 at Darlaston Town Hall.

Willenhall and Short Heath on 27 June 2012 at Winehela Court, 50a Sandbeds Road, Willenhall, WV12 4GA.

Stan Ball Friendship Circle goes from strength to strength

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

The Stan Ball Friendship Circle has gained 25 members in its first three weeks, and is going from strength to strength – but organisers are keen to invite more new members to come along and join in the fun or even become members from home if housebound.

The group, based at the Stan Ball Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich, is aimed at anyone aged fifty plus who would like to make new friends.

A home visiting service will also soon be developed for people who cannot leave their house, and applications for Friendship Circle home memberships are now being taken.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator, said:

“The target for members in the National Lottery bid which funds my role is sixty members, and the first members are working hard to help me recruit new members to the group. We’re aiming to exceed that number if we can. We’re developing the Circle week by week and fantastic new friendships have been formed already.

“Retention is high – every single person who has joined has come back for another visit and that’s what we really want to see, an enduring and welcoming friendship group that will always be there for people when they need it, and above all where they feel perfectly comfortable just dropping in and out on the Friendship Circle days to suit themselves.”

The phenomenal range of low-cost and sometimes free Friendship Circle activities just this past week week included ballroom and latin dance with tuition on Monday, bingo and lunch as well as the Computer Beginners Class on Tuesday, breakfast, coffee and a Tai Chi taster plus separate poetry readings and a creative writing workshop by Jae Linsey on Wednesday!

Deb Brownlee commented:

“Jae has read some of his material to us informally and we enjoyed it so much we have asked him to come along for a proper dedicated session. A number of Friendship Circle members have also already brought along written work to read out or have read out by others. The creativity within the group is incredible.”

On Thursday lunch and bingo was also available, as was the Computer Self Help Group which meets in the IT room and new members are very welcome to either work on the centre computers or bring along their own laptops. This is a self help group not a taught session. Members share knowledge and tips, the cost is £1.50 including internet access and refreshments are available.

Friday saw a hosted breakfast and lunch, with afternoon entertainment and discussion to follow.

NEXT EVENT SCHEDULED: On Wednesday 27th June from 1pm-3pm, local singer Hayley Cooper will be coming along to entertain everyone with a singalong taking the audience back to the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
 
Everyone is welcome and the cost is £2 per person payable on the door.

For details of Friendship Circle members, costs where applicable and all activities and future events at the Stan Ball Centre, telephone 01922 403351 or 01922 403351 asking  for Karen Smith or Deb Brownlee, email stanball@bloxwichcp.co.uk or call in to the centre any time Monday to Friday.

Can YOU help Bloxwich Bloom before Judgement Day?

Bloxwich is bloomin bostin!

Judgement Day for ‘Bloxwich in Bloom’ is rapidly approaching, and with contest officials lined up to arrive on Monday 9 July Bloxwich Town Centre Management are appealing for community-minded members of the public and local traders to take part in two up-coming volunteer planting days to help make Bloxwich look Bloomin’ Bostin before they get here!

Success in the annual event, which the town took part in for the first time last year, depends on the centre of Bloxwich looking at its very best, and with all the new flower-filled planters, hanging baskets and flower beds all along High Street and in Promenade Gardens this year, Bloxwich will soon be all set – with local people’s help – to beat last year’s Bronze medal performance in Olympic style!

It's baskets and blooms along the High Street!
It’s baskets and blooms along the High Street!

Pre-planned planting days will take place this Sunday 24 June and again on Sunday 8 July from 12 noon, and weeding, dead-heading the flowers and watering will be the order of the day to ensure the constant flowering of all the plants already in place.

New Diamond Jubilee flower beds await the judges scrutiny...
New Diamond Jubilee flower beds await the judges scrutiny…

Nikki Rolls, Walsall Council’s Regeneration Officer for Bloxwich, who is organising the preparations, said:

“We desperately need your help! If you have a spare hour and would like to support this campaign please come along and meet me by the fountain in Promenade Gardens, High Street from midday on either or both days if you can make it.

“If you have a watering can and a garden fork and trowel please can you bring them too as we only have a small stock of gardening tools.

“I will upload any photos taken of your support on our Facebook Page Bloxwich Town Centre afterwards for all to see of the good work we are doing – and I hope to see you there!”

A flyer is downloadable by clicking on the image below, for further information:

Bloxwich Community Planting Day Flyer
Bloxwich Community Planting Day Flyer

New Stan Ball widow and widowers group receives dancing demo

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

Widows and widowers attending the first meeting of the Stan Ball Centre 50 plus Widow and Widowers group on Monday 11th June were treated to a demonstration of ballroom and latin dancing during the afternoon. 

Well known dancers Sylvia and David Webster gave a short talk about ballroom and latin dancing followed by a demonstration of their dancing skills. They then taught participants a simple dance.

Deb Brownlee Young at Heart project co-ordinator said:

“We are very privileged to also have Sylvia and David Webster as tutors here at the Stan Ball Centre, and we have already received some interest from within the Stan Ball Friendship Circle, of which the Widow and Widowers group is a part, to run some social dances. With just a few lessons anyone can learn a few basic dances and join in and enjoy a dance evening far more than if they have to sit out.”

The Widow and Widowers Group day is on second Mondays of the month, and begins with a hosted breakfast meeting at 9am, followed by a hosted coffee morning and bring and buy at 10am, hosted lunch at midday and the hosted afternoon entertainment which costs £2 and runs from 1-3pm.
 
Potential members can come along any time during the day and join in. Experienced volunteers will be on hand for anyone who would like a private chat and all the activities are hosted, which means that no-one sits alone. Access to professional bereavement counselling can also be obtained through the group. This is useful for people who have hidden their true feelings for fear of upsetting other family members.

Deb Brownlee continued:
 
“The Stan Ball Centre Widow and Widowers group is strictly for people aged fifty plus who have suffered the bereavement of a partner. We aim for people to be able to help each other by sharing their feelings and experiences, but at the same time help them to have fun, make new friends and enhance their lives. The bereavement does not have to be recent and it does not matter if they now have a new partner – the new partner can come along provided they are also a widow or widower”.

Enquiries to 01922 403351, email stanball@bloxwichcp.co.uk or via facebook. A full schedule of Friendship Circle activities is available on request.