COMMUNITY ANCHORS: Social prescribing offers alternative options

Words & pics supplied by The Pioneer Group

Staff at Compass Support are working in partnership with doctors and medical practitioners across the constituency to encourage residents to pursue alternative approaches to conventional medicine.

Social Prescribing aims to provide personalised holistic support to individuals as well as lessen the strain on existing National Health Service services in the local area.

Holding clinics at GP surgeries across the area, Isobel Haywood and Lucy Davis, are keen for people in Castle Vale, Erdington and Stockland Green to consider Social Prescribing as an alternative and holistic route to improving health and wellbeing.

“Are you feeling lonely or struggling with your mental health,” they ask.

“Are you concerned with your finances or housing situation? Do you want support in finding employment or other opportunities?

“These are all things that the North Birmingham Social Prescription (NBSP) team can support you with,” they state.

Social Prescribing is a means to connect patients to non-medical resources for practical and emotional support, designed to boost quality of life.

“We can offer individuals an alternative route to prescribed medicine, as we believe components of health and wellbeing are often correlated. Through aiding individuals to navigate their health and the non-clinical resources available within the community, Social Prescribing benefits not only the patient, but the GP’s by reducing demand for appointments and providing alternative options for primary care.”

Results show this innovative pathway leads to increased patient satisfaction accessing local, community-based services; with the ultimate goal of enabling patients to live the best life possible.

The NBSP service is delivered at six practices across Erdington and Stockland Green including Reservoir Road, Kingsbury Road, Dr Khuroo’s, Poplars Surgery, Shah Zaman’s and Sutton Road.

We help patients to access a variety of organisations and services; including arts, physical activity, education, volunteering, befriending and self-help. They can also receive support with employment, benefits, housing, managing long-term health conditions, debt management, legal advice, and parenting problems.

For more details on how social prescribing could help you and the services being delivered by the North Birmingham Social Prescription team, please call Isobel Haywood or Lucy Davis on 0121 748 8111 or 07841 067636.

Alternatively, you can email them at: or

For more on The Pioneer Group visit and for more on Compass Support visit

COMMUNITY ANCHORS: Property upgrades will reduce costs

Words by Simon Wilson, Chief Executive Officer – The Pioneer Group

We are very pleased to announce that Castle Vale Community Housing is receiving help from a Government scheme to help reduce the environmental impact of our homes. CVCH will be matching the Governments grant on works that will help drive down costs to our tenants. This will result in a total of £1.4 million being spent to upgrade 77 homes on Castle Vale.

Works will include installation of underfloor, loft and cavity wall insulation, solar panels and ventilation systems. The wellbeing of our tenants is our priority and these improvements will not only support people through what is currently a difficult time financially but is part of our wider social responsibility to reduce our organisational carbon footprint – playing our small part in saving the planet.

The properties have been specially selected for energy efficiency works as they are some of our worst performing homes – meaning tenants energy bills can be greatly reduced. The works will ensure the homes achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least a C – helping to reduce the carbon emissions, make them warmer and prevent damp and mould issues from arising.

It is becoming more and more important that homes are as sustainable as they can be with environmental issues and energy concerns having a far greater impact on daily life than ever before.

Work on the 77 properties is expected to start April 2024 and run until June 2025.

For more on The Pioneer Group visit and for more on Compass Support visit

The Pioneer Group and Compass Support are key partners in the Erdington Local COMMUNITY ANCHORS programme, supporting independent local and community journalism.

COMMUNITY ANCHORS: NBER Business Engagement & Growth workshop at Perry Common Community Hall

Words by Steve Sharma / Pics supplied by Witton Lodge Community Association

The latest North Birmingham Economic Recovery (NB:ER) Group Business Engagement & Growth workshop provided invaluable insight into the importance of strategic marketing and branding.

Hosted by Witton Lodge Community Association and held at Perry Common Community Hall in January, attendees learned how to coordinate and implement outbound and partner marketing as well as the value of Public Relations and Branding.

A series of presentations also examined why effective marketing is a crucial part of any business plan and how emotions and meaning behind branding have an enormous impact on the success of marketing.

Formed in response to Covid-19 to support both businesses and individuals recover from the pandemic, the latest NB:ER workshop was part of the group’s continuing commitment to ‘creating effective routes into skills training and sustainable jobs for those currently facing barriers and/or exclusion.’

Guest speakers included Lyndsey Thomas and Heidi Salmons from IM Properties and Winvic Construction, who engaged with the audience to draw out the concept and power of branding.

“It was a pleasure to deliver and be a part of the latest NB:ER Business Engagement & Growth workshop talking to attendees about how consistent and genuine marketing, branding and social value are essential components of a successful business,” said Lyndsey.

“The attendees were really engaged and interacted throughout our session asking considered questions and making valuable connections with other small businesses during networking in between presentations and after the session – a well organised event by the NB:ER team!”

Emma Rhymes from Winvic Construction talked about how to use CSR and Social Value to grow your business while Linda Jones, from the Salus Fatigue Foundation, spoke about the journey of a local successful enterprise.

NB:ER coordinator, Jobeda Shahed, said feedback from those attending the workshop was very positive.

“It was great to see so many people taking part, with many commenting on how they picked up useful tips on how to create meaningful and impactful marketing,” she said.

“Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event, especially our partners for their great presentations.”

The North Birmingham Economic Recovery (NB:ER) Group is formed of businesses and institutions with a vested interest in North Birmingham, including Aston Villa Foundation, IM Properties, BMET, and Witton Lodge Community Association.

The NB:ER Task Force is chaired by Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, who took over the role after the passing of Jack Dromey MP – who was a ‘driving force’ behind the group’s inception.

NB:ER is further endorsed by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority, who are a member organisation to the group.

For more on the North Birmingham Economic Recovery (NB:ER) Group & Plan, visit

For more on Witton Lodge Community Association, visit

NEWS: Erdington Litter Busters receive Lord Mayor Award for cleaning up constituency

Words by Ed King

On Thursday 24 May, Erdington Litter Busters (ELB) received a Lord Mayor’s Award for their services to Erdington.

ELB have been sweeping up the constituency streets since 2018 and currently have a ‘growing community of volunteers’ going out across Erdington on the first Saturday of each month.

The group also look after a 3.5 mile track of canal and run their ‘Adopt a Street’ programme, where individual members litter pick around where they live – the initiative currently has around 200 streets ‘adopted’ across Erdington.

A social group as well and an enterprise, the Erdington Litter Busters also meet for ‘a friendly coffee and chat’ after each monthly litter pick, tend a local allotment together, and can be seen involved in countless other community groups – from street paintings to saving playing fields.

Nominated for the Lord Mayor’s Award by Cllrs Robert Alden and Gareth Moore (Local Conservatives, Erdington) and Cllr Mick Brown (Labour, Gravelly Hill), Erdington Litter Busters were notified of their success in a special letter from the Lord Mayor’s office at the end of April.

One of the last duties before his yearlong term came to an end, Birmingham’s erstwhile Lord Mayor Muhammad Afzal presented two of the ELB founders, Dawn Edwards and Rob Gunnell, with the award in the Council Chamber at the Birmingham Council House in Victoria Square.

Given annually by the exiting Lord Mayor, the awards recognise individuals and organisations who have ‘improved the reputation’ of Birmingham or ‘improved the lives of a great number of people’ in the city.

The nomination criteria highlight the awards will only be given to honour “outstanding achievement or exceptional service to the City and people of Birmingham”.

Joining Dawn and Rob at the awards ceremony were the three local councillors who nominated the group, and who have all put party politics aside for the good of the community and joined the ELB on numerous ‘clean ups’.

Many political wards across Erdington are blighted by roadside rubbish, illegal fly tipping, and waning Council waste disposal services – with virtually every candidate in the recent local elections highlighting the issue on their campaign trail.

After receiving the coveted award, Erdington Litter Busters Dawn Edwards and Rob Gunnell told Erdington Local:

“This was a golden opportunity to receive such a prestigious award on behalf of our ELB team and for the many volunteers who continue to make such a huge difference to where we live.

“It also continues to be a huge privilege to be a part of a community initiative which started out four years ago and has now diversified significantly with other projects in the area.

“We very much appreciated being nominated by local councillors, Mick Brown, Robert Alden and Gareth Moore, who have been supportive from the onset.

“It is our desire to build on our partnership with the City Council in a way which enhances our understanding of their plans and strategies for supporting community groups like ours”

Cllr Robert Alden commented: “We were delighted to jointly nominate Rob and Dawn for the Lord Mayor’s Award and were delighted to be there for the awarding of it. They have both done brilliant work for our area helping to tackle fly tipped rubbish, litter and graffiti.

“All of the litter busters do a wonderful job, and we have and continue to be very happy to support the group in any way we can to help us all show pride in Erdington.”

Cllr Gareth Moore said: “Congratulations to Dawn and Rob for all their brilliant efforts leading Erdington Litter busters. A massive thank you to everyone who also volunteers with the litter busters all your efforts are hugely appreciated.

“We have been delighted to work with all the litter busters over the last few years and look forward to continuing to do so in the years ahead – together we are all making a real difference to our local area.”

Cllr Mick Brown added: “You often hear stories in the media about people who have made a real difference in their communities but never expect to actually meet one; well in Dawn and Rob I have had the privilege of meeting not one but two.

“I never cease to be amazed at not only their commitment to personally making a difference but to their ability to inspire others to want to make difference as well.”

For more on Erdington Litter Busters visit or