NEWS: Erdington Court Bowls Club receives grant to encourage locals to ‘Bowl for Health’

Pics supplied by Erdington Court Bowls Club

Erdington Court Bowls Club (ECBC) has been given a grant of £6,453 to offer bowls sessions to local individuals and groups as part of its ‘Bowl for Health’ programme – awarded through the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme (ENNS)

Each session, held weekly, will last an hour, with participants paying only £2.50 which will also include a drink and biscuit at the clubhouse.

All equipment and training is supplied by ECBS, a registered charity, and no previous bowls experience is necessary to take part. The Erdington based bowls club are keen for ‘all ages and abilities’ to join in on the sport.

Club Marketing Officer and Trustee Ray Woods said: “The news of this grant was fantastic. It enables us to build on the experience of hosting a ‘Bowl for Health’ programme last year – and also hosting  groups of special needs school students and adults.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide 9-10 hours of fun bowls per week in our indoor arena.

“We have links with the North Birmingham Branch of Parkinson’s UK and they are already receiving their initial coaching. We also have other groups who are interested.

“We also plan to use the sessions to increase ethnic, disabled, and female involvement in bowls.

The grant has been awarded by the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme and Birmingham City Council, in association with Witton Lodge Community Association.

EBCS launched their ‘Bowl for Health’ programme in 2022, using the sport to encourage both social engagement and a healthier lifestyle.

Sport is well known for helping to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as building team dynamics and a sense of community. Bowls in particular can improve eye and hand coordination, as well as offering company in a sociable setting through the Erdington based club.

Ray Woods added: “The sessions aim to address loneliness, isolation, and depression, and this complements our three Warm Welcome Space events each week.

“Already, the grant has enabled us to buy more bowls to enable us to run the sessions to larger groups.”

Erdington Court Bowls Club was founded as a youth club around 1900 by the Erdington Wesleyan Methodist Church, with tennis and cricket preceding bowls – which was introduced in 1925.

In 1976, Erdington Court Bowls Club built one of the first six rink artificial greens in the world. In addition, a full length four rink indoor arena was built, approximately 30 metres long, which hosts both flat and crown green bowlers from clubs in the area.

Erdington Court Bowls Club is part of the Erdington Recreational Trust (ERT) – a registered charity whose aims are to provide recreational and leisure facilities for the people of Erdington and the surrounding area.

Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington said: “It’s absolutely terrific news that Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme has awarded Erdington Court Bowls Club £6,453 to deliver their ‘Bowl for Health’ programme.

“The club is doing some great work and during my recent visit, I learned about their amazing Warm Welcome Space events that are helping local people through the cost of living crisis this winter.”

For more on Erdington Court Bowls Club visit www.erdingtoncourtbowlsclub.org.uk or call 07967 686230

REVIEW: Eau da Funk’s debut gig at the first Evening of Creativity of 2023, alongside Elena Mylonas and Olivia Wilkes

Words & pics by Leni Remedios

“Music moves the world” is our motto, says Tony, guitarist of Eau da Funk, headliner of 2023’s first edition of the Evening of Creativity (EoC) – held at Oikos Café on Friday 20 January.

The world did move indeed, and so did everybody’s feet at the notes of this incredible band.

It was their very first gig, after having formed last year, and as a debut performance it was impressive – delivering a wide range of classics from James Brown to Lenny Kravitz and Kings of Leon.

Eau da Funk was founded soon after lockdown, when Tony was looking for other musicians to create a new project. Two of them are Erdington locals. “We got in touch online at first and we immediately understood that, beyond the different music tastes, we were united by a common ground,” explained Tony.

In fact, their range of music, as explained by their lead singer Sofire: “goes from funk to soul, to reggae and rock music, but also gospel, which is a big influence on our music. God is also very important to us.”

A diversity also reflected in the different backgrounds of the band members, each of them coming from English, Polish, or Caribbean heritage. Eau da Funk are also planning to compose their own songs.

In a packed Oikos Café, the Friday night crowd saw further performances from Elena Mylonas and Olivia Wilkes, both vocal coaches.

Elena performed songs by The Cranberries and Dolly Parton, but also her own song ‘Rose’ accompanied by some musicians from Eau da Funk (at the Evening of Creativity events, spontaneous collaboration between the artists is often involved). She started playing guitar at 11 years old in her native Greece, and after attending Birmingham University aged 23 she started teaching as a vocal coach.

Backstage, Elena revealed details about her song writing and approach to performing: “When I was younger, in Greece, for some reason everybody expected me to play only cheerful songs.

“Furthermore, people in the music industry were requiring from me to adhere to certain beauty standards, asking me to appear more sexy or girlish. I felt really uncomfortable with it, especially after the death of my brother about seven years ago.

“I needed to express my grief somehow, and music gave me the perfect opportunity to channel those feelings. I wasn’t fitting in the Greek scene of the time though, so I decided to move to the UK, where there is a long tradition of ballads and a broader variety of music genres.”

Elena regularly performs both original songs and covers with bands in small venues, with her debut album set for release in the coming months.

Olivia Wilkes was another big surprise. With her powerful voice, she offered her own rendition of classics from Nina Simone to Nirvana, but backstage further disclosed she is working on original material. Her upcoming gigs include Saturday 27 January at Deadwax and Friday 10 February at the Gunmakers Arms.

Olivia’s performance was followed by Josh, the guitarist and lead singer of the indie-rock band The Shore. He performed the original single ‘Left Alone’, and you can see him and his band on 28 January at The Victoria, in Birmingham City Centre.

The event also welcomed an extraordinary community activist and writer, Veronica ‘Judith’ Asare, who opened the evening talking about her book, The Healing Power of Grace – a journey about a terrible accident that changed her life.

Judith, a practicing Christian, never fell into the darkness thanks to her faith. On the contrary, she found motivation in helping others and funded the charity Judith Ark of Hope Foundation – through which, as a qualified counsellor, she helps people such as single parents, people in jail and their families, and refugees. She gives them hope, providing food, clothes, and psychological support.

“I met her about six years ago, in an outdoor event where she was promoting her charity,” says Michael – who was supporting Judith during her EoC performance. “I was going through a very dark phase in my life, she helped my family and me, and she adopted me as her child.”

Judith Ark of Hope operates in the Midlands but also offers help and support elsewhere, reaching London, Manchester, and other areas.

Another highlight of the night was the reading by Laura Liptrot – actress, poet, and playwright from Stourbridge – who started acting at just six years old. The Evening of Creativity audience was captivated by her lively performance and expressions.

Laura’s new poetry book, Cocktails, is about to be launched; already available on Kindle digital edition, the paperback will be available by the end of the month.

Finally, the event also saw the participation of some ‘regulars’ of the EoC, such as resident poet Simon, reading some of his poetry. Mitch Thomas also showed the audience a piece of her ceramic collection and talked about her artistic journey.

Then was a performance by the duo Stefan Stefanov and Nathan Czeszejko-Sochacki. Stefan is a guitarist and music teacher who is very active in the community, whilst the younger Nathan has been singing and playing ukulele, guitar, and piano at EoC events for about a year.

They performed ‘Hotel California’ and a gospel gypsy song. “All around the World Music,” so Stefan defines his style, and you can see him perform every Sunday at the Bulgaria Church by Six Ways from 5pm.

The Evening of Creativity is founded and hosted by the Erdington Arts Forum – who engages people with workshops, exhibitions, training programmes, exhibitions, and music performances.

Next month’s Evening of Creativity will be held at Oikos Café on Erdington High Street from 6:30pm on Friday 17 February, with advance tickets costing between £5-£6.13

For more on Erdington Arts forum visit: www.facebook.com/ErdingtonArts

For more from Oikos Café visit www.oikoscafe.co.uk

BACK TO WORK: Jobs Fair to be held at St Barnabas Church on Tuesday 31 January

Words by Steve Sharma & Ed King / Pics supplied by WLCA & Ed King

On Tuesday 31 January, a Jobs Fair will be held at St Barnabas Church on Erdington High Street – giving local job seekers the chance to meet large employers in the area.

Organised by Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) in partnership with the Erdington Business Improvement District (BID) the event will also provide a chance to speak directly with training providers, as well as to apply for live vacancies.

A previous Jobs Fair, held at the Erdington High Street church in August, brought together a range of providers offering opportunities around digital skills.

With medical providers and disability support charities attending the January event, including the NHS and Mencap, there will be a range of employment opportunities for people interested in a career in healthcare.

More than 70 people attended the first Jobs Fair event, with most of the employment stands busy and lined with people waiting to speak to recruiters representing a range of different industries across North Birmingham.

Melissa Gayle, Employability Coordinator at WLCA, said: “We had a wonderful turnout at the last event and are confident this next one will be just as popular as Job Fairs are a very effective way of allowing people to connect with employers.

“They also provide job seekers with the opportunity to interview for vacancies.”

John Hodgkiss, Erdington Town Centre and BID Manager, added: “The name of the project is the Erdington Employment Charter.

“It’s being put into place to offer local Erdington job seekers the best chance of success, with local partners in both the public and private sectors working together to identify local job vacancies and expedite these through to local residents.

“Furthermore, candidates will be offered a bespoke employment service tailored to them, from application advice and help through to post interview support and guidance.

“There will be an expert team on hand to offer this support, and we urge any local employers in the Erdington area to contact us with open vacancies, so we can fill these with local Erdington talent with no expense to the employer.”

St Barnabas Church, the oldest church in Erdington, hold regular community events – including a stay and play called Barnie Babies, a youth café run in conjunction with local faith based support charity Urban Devotion, and a weekly Warm Space Café with free soup and refreshments.

Jane Smith, St Barnabas Parish Administrator and Communications Co-ordinator, told: “There have been several Jobs Fairs hosted at St Barnabas Church Centre over the years and we’re always delighted to work with local partners to help make them happen.

“The events provide a valuable opportunity for local people to meet employers and training providers and find useful information on organisations that can support those seeking work.

“It promises to be a busy day and we look forward to welcoming everyone.”

Organisations already confirmed for the WLCA and Erdington BID Jobs Fair at St Barnabas Church on Tuesday 31 January include the National Health Service (NHS), Acado, AM2PM, and Mencap.

Any employers who are looking to recruit in North Birmingham and who would like to be part of event, and the wider Erdington Employment Charter, are asked to email the Erdington BID at erdingtonhighstreet@hotmail.co.uk

For more from Witton Lodge Community Association visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk

For more from the Erdington Business Improvement District visit www.erdingtonhighstreet.co.uk

For more from St Barnabas, including links to their social media and community events programme, visit www.stbarnabaserdington.org.uk

NEWS: “A kick in the teeth” as Erdington High Street loses out on millions from Levelling Up Fund

Words & pics by Ed King (image of Paulette Hamilton supplied)

Erdington has once again missed out on millions of pounds to regenerate the High Street, as the Government rejects the latest Levelling Up Fund (LUF) application.

In a surprise announcement made in the early hours of Thursday 19 January, with no warning given to unsuccessful applications, all five of Birmingham City Council’s applications to the LUF were turned down – including the £10.75m petitioned to deliver ‘a transformational scheme’ for Erdington High Street.

Top of the list of Birmingham City Council’s recent LUF applications, the Erdington High Street bid would ‘be used to transform the High Street into a thriving centre, with business incubation space, housing, cultural, leisure and social activities, improved urban realm and physical and social connectivity within the area.’

At the centre of the regeneration of Erdington High Street were plans to support the renovation of St Barnabas Churchyard and the development of a Community and Enterprise Hub at the old Erdington Swimming Baths site – being delivered by Witton Lodge Community Association.

With local politicians and stakeholders reeling from the LUF rejection this morning – which is the second time the ambitious plans for Erdington High Street have been turned down – elsewhere across the county 111 areas will be celebrating their share of the £2.1bn from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

Today’s shock announcement, and complete overstepping of all five Birmingham LUF bids, is the latest defeat in a long battle to secure regeneration funding for Erdington High Street from Westminster – which began with an application to the Future High Street Fund in 2020 and saw further disappointment in the first round of LUF allocations in October 2021.

Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton stated: “”I’m incredibly disappointed that, yet again, the Conservative Government have let Erdington down.

“Our funding bid would have brought investment into our community by creating jobs, skills, and infrastructure. The investment would have transformed Erdington High Street to make it a destination again.

“Sadly, Erdington did not receive a single penny from the Tory Government’s 2.1bn fund, despite ranking amongst the top 10% most deprived areas in the country.

“The Prime Minister’s own constituency – one of the most affluent – has received £19m.

“Tory failure and favouritism have been laid bare by this announcement. It’s just another kick in the teeth for our community in Erdington from this out of touch Government.”

Erdington Ward Councillor and Birmingham Conservative Leader, Robert Alden, told: “Over the last few years we have been putting in Future High Street Fund and Levelling up Fund bids and requests to the City Council, that is it is so disappointing that the Levelling Up Fund bid has not been approved.

“However, this is not the end of trying to get funding into the High Street here in Erdington.

“It is vital now that the Government and the City Council invest in our High Street to deliver the plans that residents want to see and we will continue to do all we can to secure further investment onto of the funding already provided by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street”.

Cllr Gareth Moore (Con, Erdington Ward) added: “West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has listened and the Combined Authority therefore put in over £2million to help turn the former Erdington Baths site, under Witton Lodge Community Association, into an Enterprise Hub to support local people into work and to set up businesses.

“Andy Street listened to the people of Erdington it is time that the City Council and the Government listen to the people of Erdington and invest to regenerate our High Street”.

Birmingham was one of three cities across the country that had all of it’s LUF applications turned down by Government, losing out on a total of £82.264m in potential citywide funding.

Elsewhere, Leeds lost out on a potential £120m through six LUF bids – whilst Nottingham had all three of its bids rejected, totalling £57m.

Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward told: “Today’s announcement is a kick in the teeth for Birmingham families who were already struggling to make ends meet after over a decade of Tory austerity – even before the Government crashed the UK economy.

“You cannot level up the UK economy without levelling up Birmingham, so today’s news brings into question the Government’s true commitment to hard-pressed households across this city. It’s now clear that levelling up is nothing more than a slogan.

“These bids would have delivered true change to communities across Birmingham, creating new jobs, improving life chances and restoring pride to our neighbourhoods.

“Instead, the Prime Minister’s constituency – one of the most affluent in the country – has received funding, while of the 80 successful bids in England, only half are in the 100 most deprived areas of the country. How is this levelling up?”

The Levelling Up Fund was first announced in the Government’s 2020 spending review, totalling £4.8bn in accessible funding for councils across the country.

Tranche One of LUF allocation saw £1.7bn distributed to 105 projects, including money for Moseley Road Swimming Baths in Balsall Heath and the Soho Loop development on Dudley Road.

Following today’s allocation of £2.1bn in Tranche Two – which saw 525 bids submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities in August 2022 – there is now £1bn left in the LUF budget.

Erdington’s Town Centre Manger and head of the Business Improvement District (EBID), John Hodgkiss, who came into post in August 2022, is “remaining positive about the potential of Erdington High Street.”

Mr Hodgkiss told Erdington Local: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear that the LUF has not been awarded to Erdington, especially in light of the hard work so many have contributed.

“In terms of Erdington High Street, I know that we have so many dedicated stakeholders with one aim, which is to see Erdington prosper and thrive in the future.

“Here at the EBID, we will continue to push on with projects and events to attract greater footfall into the town centre. We will also continue to work hard in attracting new independent and national retailers into Erdington High Street.

“We also commit to promoting the great retailers which we already have on board and further improve the local trading environment for them.”

NEWS: Eau da Funk and Olivia Wilkes to headline Evening of Creativity on Friday 20 January

Words by Leni Remedios / Pics supplied by Erdington Arts Forum

2023 starts with two extraordinary headline acts at this month’s Evening of Creativity, Eau Da Funk and Olivia Wilkes – to be held at Oikos Café on Friday 20 January, as organised by the Erdington Arts Forum.

Eau Da Funk is a six-piece covers/function band delivering an eclectic repertoire of funk, soul, pop, reggae, and RnB.

They only started playing together in 2022, formed in Birmingham, and Erdington Arts Forum is extremely excited to host this newly formed band.

January’s Evening of Creativity will also see the participation of outstanding singer and musician Olivia Wilkes. “My vocal tutoring journey started at a music school in my home town where I have taught 45+ students in face to face private lessons,” says Olivia, a singing coach who has a long experience in teaching different genres, from musical theatre to heavier tracks.

Since the age of 15, Wilkes has performed in festivals, weddings, and charity days, collaborated with a lot of musicians and featured on local radio stations, including BBC Radio Stoke.

But that’s not all for the first Evening of Creativity of 2023.

Greek singer and musician Elena Mylonas will be also featuring on the January line up, delighting the audience with her pop rock songs.

Also on the bill will be Mitch Thomas, a regular of the Evening of Creativity, introducing to the audience her ceramic artwork “influenced by love,” alongside a poetry reading by Laura Liptrot – a Stourbridge based actor and playwright.

Members of Arts All Over the Place, a local mental charity that has been active since 2007, will also speak about their community arts projects for adults with mental health problems.

Now a permanent fixture on the city’s cultural calendar, the family friendly Evening of Creativity events at Oikos often sell out – so organisers encourage people to buy advance tickets through a special Eventbrite page.

The Evening of Creativity was founded and hosted by Erdington Arts Forum, whose primary goal is to improve the status of artistic activity in the Erdington constituency. Erdington Arts Forum engages people with workshops, exhibitions, training programmes, exhibitions, and music performances.

This month’s Evening of Creativity will be held at Oikos Café on Erdington High Street from 6:30pm on Friday 20 January, with advance tickets around £5-6. Click here to book your ticket.

The event will also be broadcast live via the Erdington Arts Forum Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ErdingtonArts

Follow Erdington Arts Forum on Facebook and Instagram
For more from Oikos Café visit: https://www.oikoscafe.co.uk/

NEWS: 18 year old from Erdington is charged with Cody Fisher Boxing Day murder

Words by Ed King

An 18 year old from Erdington has been charged with murder and affray, following a police investigation into the fatal stabbing of Cody Lee Fisher (23) at a city centre nightclub on Boxing Day.

Reegan Anderson (18) from Erdington was held by West Midlands Police on 12 January and has now been officially implicated in the violent attack – which took place at Crane nightclub on Adderly Street in Digbeth.

Two other men had previously been charged with the murder of Mr Fisher, Kami Carpenter (21) and Remy Gordon (22) both appeared at the city’s Birmingham Crown Court last week.

Another man was also arrested but released on bail, making Reegan Anderson from Erdington the fourth man to be arrested and third to be charged over the horrific killing.

Cody Fisher, a semi professional footballer from Redditch, was fatally stabbed the dancefloor of Crane nightclub on Boxing Day last year.

Police were called to the popular Digbeth venue just before midnight on 26 December 2022, but despites efforts to save Mr Fisher’s life at the scene he was pronounced dead around 30 minutes later.

Security at the nightclub was questioned following the attack, with an 18-year-old man from Wolverhampton reporting the killing was a “disaster waiting to happen” and that the venue security “…didn’t even touch me whilst searching me, they just followed the outline of my body with their hands then tapped me to say go on through.”

He continued: “Obviously you want everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves (but) when we got in I said to my friend: ‘That’s the worst search I’ve ever seen’. Anyone could have brought anything in.”

Cody Fisher was had previously played for Stourbridge, Bromsgrove Sporting, and Stratford Town football clubs.

In the days following the fatal attack, Arron Forde from Erdington based Community Interest Company Foundations 4 Future – who use sport to engage with young people and keep them away from violent crime and gang culture – took to social media to decry the brutal killing.

Mr Forde stated on his personal Twitter feed: ‘Having a son who is 2 & a half I just don’t see how I can bring him up in this lawless cesspit of a country. 0 consequence for the most horrific crimes.’

Following the arrest of Reegan Anderson, West Midlands Police issued the following statement:

“We’ve arrested a fourth man on suspicion of the murder of Cody Fisher, who was stabbed to death in a Birmingham nightclub on Boxing Day.

“The 18-year-old was held in Erdington just before 7am and will be questioned over the death of Cody.

“Cody, 23, was stabbed on the dance floor of the Crane nightclub on Adderley Street in Digbeth just before midnight on Boxing Day. He died at the scene.

“Two men have already been charged with his murder, while a third has been released on police bail while our inquiry continues.”

Det Insp Michelle Thurgood, leading the investigation, added: “We know lots of people at The Crane were using their mobile phones to take pictures and video on the night.

“If anyone has images from the evening that shows what happened before, during or after the incident, we really need to see it. It could provide vital to our investigation.”

West Midlands Police have set up a dedicated webpage for people to anonymously share any information, images, or videos that could help them with the investigation: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/20HQ22L31-PO1

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

I hope everyone has enjoyed a lovely Christmas break and spent some valuable time with your family. As I look back at 2022, I know it has been a challenging year for many people in our community and across the country.

At the beginning of the year, we sadly lost Jack Dromey MP. He was loved by many across the constituency that he proudly served for 12 years. In the months that followed, I was absolutely honoured to be elected as the Member of Parliament representing Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale. I know that I have some very big shoes to fill.

Since I was elected, I have been working non-stop and have helped more than a thousand local people with casework issues ranging from housing and antisocial behaviour to immigration and benefits. I have regularly spoken up for local people in Parliament and held the Government to account by raising the issues that are important to you like fly-tipping, poor housing, and the cost-of-living crisis.

We campaigned to stop another betting shop opening on Erdington High Street – and won. Sadly, the betting shop has now submitted an appeal to the government to try and overturn the council’s decision and wishes of local people. I will be fighting this appeal all the way.

Our High Street needs investment and I’ve worked with local groups to submit a funding application that will transform to the area and make it a destination again – if it’s approved by Ministers.

I’ve been working in every corner of our community – whether it’s helping with litter picks in Stockland Green, arguing for tougher laws to tackle rogue landlords in Gravelly Hill, supporting our incredible local businesses on Erdington High Street, making the case for more police resources to get crime down in Kingstanding, helping local people in Castle Vale with rising housing costs or fighting for better services in Perry Common and Pype Hayes.

I regularly visit foodbanks in our community that do incredible work to support struggling local families. I’ve listened to heart-breaking stories from working people who are struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. Local people told me that their wages just weren’t paying enough to keep up with rising bills.

I was an NHS nurse for over 25 years, and it absolutely breaks my heart to see nurses strike for the first time in 106 years.

Nurses work extremely long hours, often for very low wages. They deserve the dignity of fair pay and acceptable working conditions. The power to stop these strikes, that even nurses themselves don’t really want, lies squarely with the Government. But Ministers are still refusing to even talk to them.

Our country is crying out for strong leadership to get our economy moving and help struggling families deal with the cost-of-living crisis. But sadly, we have seen chaos with 3 different Prime Ministers, inflation hitting a 40-year high and the Government crashing our economy, leaving millions of families struggling to pay their bills.

2023 will bring more challenges for our community but know this, I will be there – with you – every step of the way, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns. 

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

NEWS: Man arrested for midnight stabbing on Fern Road leaving victim with “potentially life changing injuries’

Words and pics by Ed King

A 35 year old man has been arrested for wounding, following an alleged stabbing on Fern Road at around 12am on Saturday 7 January.

As revellers on nearby Erdington High Street enjoyed the first weekend of the New Year, a man in his 40’s was fighting for his life following the vicious assault – with police cordoning off Fern Road in a midnight investigation.

Blocking off the suburban street from the entrances on Church Road and Moor End Lane, uniformed officers and sniffer dogs were deployed in the early hours to search for evidence.

Initially searching the undergrowth, bushes, and gardens surrounding the corner of Fern Road and Church Road, police then continued their search down Church Road towards Spring Lane – checking front gardens and knocking on the doors of house to near to the crime scene.

A Police Incident Support Unit was also in attendance, isolating two parts of Fern Road and covering potential evidence with small tents.

A vehicle recovery truck was also called to the scene, although it was unclear which vehicles it was removing from the investigation site.

One local resident, who lives on Church Road and saw the first squad car arrive, told Erdington Local: “You hear sirens and see blue lights all the time around here, being just off the High Street, but they don’t usually stop on Church Road. This time they did.

“I never heard any noise or fighting, and the first police car just sat on Fern Road for about quarter of an hour before anyone else turned up – it didn’t feel like a dangerous scene.

“But the roads were fully closed and the police were searching the front gardens nearby, so they must have been looking for something. Or someone.”

Another Church Road neighbour, who came out of her door opposite from the police cordon, told Erdington Local: “I’m was just coming to see what was going on, we were worried for our neighbours.”

Whilst a passer-by also quizzed police at the scene, asking: “how bad is it down there (Fern Road)?”

West Midlands Police issued a statement about the incident on Saturday 7 January.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police told: “A man has been arrested after another man was stabbed in Fern Road, Erdington just before midnight.

“The victim, in his 40s, was taken to hospital with serious and potentially life-changing injuries. A 35-year-old man remains under arrest for wounding.

“Anyone who witnessed what happened and hasn’t spoken to us should contact us via Live Chat quoting log 4757 of 6/1.

Video of police at scene, blocking off Fern Road

 Video of small tents being erected on Fern Road

 

NEWS: Police tape off Fern Road in midnight investigation on first weekend of New Year

Words & pics by Ed King

Police responded to an incident near Erdington High Street at around midnight on Friday 6 January – cordoning off Fern Road from the corner of Church Road to Moor End Lane.

On the first weekend of the New Year, the first squad car was seen arriving by local residents at around 12am on Friday night/Saturday morning – parking on the corner of Church Road and Fern Road.

One officer was seen searching the surrounding bushes by flashlight, whilst another established police tape blocking off Fern Road to pedestrians and traffic from the entrances on Church Road and Moor End Lane.

A further two more squad cars were parked to prevent traffic from entering from Moor End Lane, with officers advising pedestrians on Church Road to cross over and walk on the opposite side of the street.

One local resident, who lives on Church Road and saw the first squad car arrive, told Erdington Local:

“You hear sirens and see blue lights all the time around here, being just off the High Street, but they don’t usually stop on Church Road. This time they did.

“I never heard any noise or fighting, and the first police car just sat on Fern Road for about quarter of an hour before anyone else turned up – it didn’t feel like a dangerous scene.

“But the roads were fully closed and the police were searching the front gardens nearby, so they must have been looking for something. Or someone.”

A police sniffer dog and handler were later seen coming out of one of the neighbouring gardens, then preceding to search more gardens down Church Road towards Spring Lane.

Officers were also seen knocking on doors of houses next to the crime scene. A further two squad cars were also positioned on the corner of Church Road and Deakin Road but were not preventing vehicle access.

One local resident, who had just come back from the Charlie Hall pub, was surprised to see blue lights flashing near his home.

Whist another Church Road neighbour, who came out of her door opposite from the police cordon, told Erdington Local:

“I’m was just coming to see what was going on, we were worried for our neighbours.”

After nearly two hours of the road closure and ongoing investigation, a police incident van arrived and small triangular tents were erected in the middle of Fern Road, although it was confirmed to Erdington Local: “they are not for bodies.”

A passer-by also quizzed police at the scene, asking: “how bad is it down there (Fern Road)?”

A recovery vehicle arrived at the scene some minutes later, seemingly to remove at least one of the vehicles that appeared parked on Fern Road.

Police at the scene were not able to comment further on the incient or identify if there was any threat to public safety.

Erdington Local has contacted West Midlands Police for an official statement.

Video of police at scene, blocking off Fern Road

 Video of small tents being erected on Fern Road

NEWS: “Every donation, big or small, makes a huge difference,” thanks from John Taylor Hospice as Treecycling initiative gets closer to target

Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by The Hospice Charity Partnership

Erdington’s John Taylor Hospice (JTH) are sending out a New Year thank you to everyone who has supported their Treecycling initiative so far.

With more than 4000 people already signed up, the local hospice has currently raised over of £70,000 in donations – getting closer to last year’s fundraising total of £110,000.

With around 200 people across Birmingham and Solihull joining the Treecycling initiative every day, the Grange Road hospice is hopeful to beat last year’s target – helping them support more people and their families with expert end of life and palliative care.

The deadline to register for the Treecycling initiative is Monday 9 January, to get involved or for more information visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/Treecycling

Jess Bolton, Community Campaigns and Digital Fundraising Manager at The Hospice Charity Partnership said: “We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has booked their Christmas tree into our Treecycling service so far.

“We’re thrilled to be closer towards our target of 5,500 trees to collect on 14-15 January.

“If you have had a real tree this Christmas and haven’t arranged your collection yet, you have until Monday 9 January at midday to book.

“We currently have an army of 150 amazing volunteers ready to hop in their vans and collect your trees, so you won’t need to lift a finger or worry about getting needles in your car!

“Every donation, big or small, makes a huge difference, enabling someone in our community to receive the care and support they desperately need.”

Having run for over ten years, the Treecycling initiative is an important part of JTH’s yearly revenue – the Grange Road hospice relies on charity fundraising and donations to generate 40% of the money needed to stay open.

In exchange for an affordable donation, the Treecyling volunteers will collect your old Christmas tree from your home on Saturday 14 or Sunday 15 of January ’23 – helping clear away the Christmas clutter whilst raising much needed funds for the local hospice.

John Taylor Hospice is now part of The Hospice Charity Partnership (THCP), which also includes Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

It costs £15,055,467 to run both sites per year – £1,254,622 per month, £289,528 per week, £41,361 per day, and £1,723 per hour.

Projects such as the annual Treecycling initiative are crucial in keeping John Taylor Hospice operational, which first opened in 1910 and has been providing free end of life and palliative care for over a century.

All the money raised through the Treecycling initiative will go towards the core costs of running the Birmingham hospices and supporting those who are cared for by The Hospice Charity Partnership and their families.

Detailing how the money raised from the Treecycling initiative could be used, Jess Bolton added: “Over 600 people each year get the specialist care they need at our Selly Park (St Maty’s Hospice) and Erdington (John Taylor Hospice) Inpatient Units.

“Almost 3,000 people each year are cared for by our Community Palliative Care Teams in the comfort of their own home.

“Each year over 1,600 people are supported emotionally, practically, and spiritually by our charity’s Social Care and Wellbeing Teams.

“Our Child Bereavement Service has over 800 support sessions with bereaved children each year; supporting them through the most difficult of times and helping children on their journey of grief.”

To take part in the Treecycling initiative, simply sign up before Monday 9 January via an online registration form and make an affordable donation, with all proceeds going directly to the hospice charity: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/Treecycling

To sign up for the ‘Treecycling’ charity fundraiser and support John Taylor Hospice visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/Treecycling

For more on John Taylor Hospice visit www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk