NEWS: St Barnabas Church celebrates 200 years in the heart of Erdington with special events and historical display

Words by Estelle Murphy / Pics by Ed King and Joe Marchant

St Barnabas Church is celebrating 200 years at the heart of the Erdington community with a series of special events and activities, before a special bi-centenial birthday service on 23 July.

There will also be a special display of the church’s history, from the Erdington Historical Society, in situ at St Barnabas until the double century celebrations are over.

Despite not being readily accessible to members of the public, after St Barnabas closed its café due to financial constraints in June last year, the display can however be seen during the church’s regular programme of community events and worship.

A Grade II listed building, situated on the corner of Church Road and Erdington High Street, St Barnabas Church was first consecrated on 23 July 1824 – with this year marking its 200 year anniversary.

The church was famous for its 16 stained glass windows, and cost £5000 to build at the time – over £1000 of which was from public donations. St Barnabas is the Patron Saint of Peacemakers and is often invoked against quarrelling and hailstorms.

Bi-centenial celebrations were launched on 8 June with an arts and crafts event, and the presentation of Erdington Historical Society’s display of St Barnabas Church history.

The display details the early plans for the church, which was originally built as a chapel of ease to the Aston Parish Church – meaning locals didn’t have to travel to Aston every Sunday to worship. At first St Barnabas could only conduct burials and baptisms, and weddings could not take place there until Erdington became a parish in 1858. The display also shows records of former clergymen and women, bells, and graveyard extensions.

But marking a sad point in the Erdington parish history, on 4 October 2007 arsonists set fire to the St Barnabas Church, destroying all but one of its stained glass windows and much of the roof – leaving only the clock, bell tower, and walls standing. Rebuilding took place between 2011 and 2012, it the church was rededicated in December 2012.

The display form the Erdington Historical Society also shows images of the former stained glass windows and the war memorial lost to the fire, whilst also providing more details of the fire.

Ahead of its 200 year anniversary, St Barnabas is hosting series of events and activities to mark the occasion. Erdington Arts Forum and Ceol Agency also hosted a special musical event on 29 June, bringing musicians and artists together in the church to celebrate it’s importance to the community.

On Saturday 13 July there will also be a Celebration of Relationships held at 2pm – a service to rejoice in all the bonds of love, from friendship and community to marriage and partnership.

Saturday 20 July will see a family fun day with arts and crafts, workshops, and refreshments, held in the community hub from 11am till 3:30pm, which people can attend without booking.

Then on Tuesday 23 July at 7pm, St Barnabas will host a special dedication service, to celebrate the building’s 200 year history and shine a light on everything that is good in the community of Erdington.

Reverend Emma Sykes at St Barnabas told Erdington Local: “It was consecrated on 23 July 1824, which is why we are holding a dedication service on that day.

“Leading up to that day, we have a whole range of events that celebrate Erdington and highlighting the good things here”.

Erdington Historical Society meet at the community hub area at St Barnabas every second Tuesday of each month, with a small fee for attendance.

For more on St Barnabas visit www.stbarnabaserdington.org.uk

For more on the Erdington Historical Society visit www.stbarnabaserdington.org.uk/erdington-historcial-society

BACK TO SCHOOL: Wilson Stuart hosts ‘Let’s Enable’ for equine therapy session

Words and pics supplied by Wilson Stuart School

Wilson Stuart School recently had the pleasure of welcoming ‘Let’s Enable’ and their special visitors: two ponies.

This unique session, funded by The Inclusive Communities Fund, was designed to provide students with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) an opportunity to engage in therapeutic activities with the ponies.

‘Let’s Enable’ is an organisation dedicated to supporting adults and young people with disabilities in Birmingham. Their programmes emphasise the mental health benefits of equine companionship and promote physical activity through horse care.

During the session, students participated in a variety of activities, including grooming, leading, and stroking the ponies. These activities were made possible with the assistance of volunteers from ‘Let’s Enable’ and supportive school staff.

Lucy Cook, Learning Lead for Inspire, stated that: “The work with the ponies provided an enriching experience, enhancing both the students’ sensory engagement and emotional well-being and it was lovely to see the student’s interaction with the animals.”

The event was such a success that Wilson Stuart has already booked two additional sessions, aiming to extend this beneficial experience to more students across the school.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘Let’s Enable’ and The Inclusive Communities Fund for making this invaluable experience possible for our students

For more on Wilson Stuart School visit www.wilsonstuart.co.uk

Wilson Stuart School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Celebrated author Lee Benson engages students with Henry Egg series at Queensbury main school

Words and pics by supplied by Queensbury School

On 7 May 2024, our school had the pleasure of hosting Lee Benson, the acclaimed author of The Adventures of Henry Egg and the Henry Egg series, for a day filled with literary excitement and educational enrichment. Benson’s visit was highly anticipated, and he did not disappoint.

Benson conducted sessions with the Discovery and Quest classes, offering students a rare opportunity to engage directly with a professional author.

These sessions were not only informative but also inspiring, as students delved into the creative process behind Benson’s stories and even participated in interactive activities designed to spark their own storytelling talents.

During these class sessions, students were captivated by tales of adventure and moral lessons that the Henry Egg stories embody. Benson’s dynamic storytelling and engaging presence left a significant impression, encouraging students to explore their creativity and develop a deeper love for reading.

In addition to the workshops, students had the chance to purchase copies of Benson’s books, with a special treat: limited edition signed copies by both Benson and the series’ artist. This provided a cherished memento of the day, encouraging a lasting love for reading.

The visit by Lee Benson was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impression on students and staff alike.

It was a day that truly celebrated the joy of reading and the power of imagination.

For more Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

Queensbury School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kingsthorne Primary School residential at YHA Ravenstor in Peak District

Words and pics supplied by Kingsthorne Primary School

Earlier in June, children from Kingsthorne Primary got the chance to spend time at the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) country house Ravenstor – as part of a special residential trip organised by the Kinstanding school.

Situated in the heart of the Peak District, looking down on the River Wye that runs between Bakewell and Buxton, YHA Ravenstor is a popular holiday destination for families and walkers who want to get back to nature.

During their stay, the Kingsthorne children got to explore the 60 acres of beautiful grounds that surround the National Trust property, playing games and taking part in fun activities.

With some wet weather coming whilst they were away, everyone got quite muddy but had a great time doing so – and luckily YHA Ravenstor had a special ‘drying room’ for all their wet clothes and muddy boots.

School trips and residential stays are a fantastic way to build confidence in young people, help them with social inclusion, and give many children the chance to see and experience things that may not be easily accessible to them.

National consortium Learning Away champions the benefits of UK based educational residentials and found the impact of the experience on primary school children can increase their relationships with both peers and teachers by over 70%.

Renowned mountaineer and explorer Sir Chris Bonnington told: “Children benefit in a profound way from the adventure of a residential and the opportunity and experience of being absorbed in what they are learning in the great outdoors.”

For more on Kingsthorne Primary School visit www.kingsthorneprimary.co.uk

Kingsthorne Primary School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

NEWS: Quick arrest made after “disorder” on Erdington High Street puts man in “life threatening condition”

Words by Erdington Local editorial team / Pics taken from archive

Police have made a quick arrest after a vicious knife attack during a “disorder” on Erdington High Street put a man in hospital in a “life threatening condition.”

Officers were called an incident near Six Ways Island at 5.10pm yesterday (Thursday, 20 June) following reports of fighting at the top end of the High Street.

Arriving at the scene, officers found a man with knife wounds who was immediately rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.

A few hours after the stabbing a man was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and possessing a bladed article.

An immediate investigation began, with officers knocking on doors and closing parts of the High Street off the public. Parts of the busy retail area remained cordoned off overnight as forensic officers continued to collect evidence.

A statement from West Midlands Police said: “We’ve arrested a man after being called to reports of a disorder on Erdington High Street at about 5.10pm today.

“Officers attended and found a man who had suffered a knife injury. He was taken to hospital where we understand he’s in a life-threatening condition.

“A short time later officers arrested a man on suspicion of wounding with intent and possession of a bladed article.

“Part of Erdington High Street has been cordoned off as we remain at the scene, with forensic experts examining the area.”

The police added: “Officers are reviewing CCTV and carrying out door-to-door enquiries as the investigation continues.

“Anyone with information or footage can contact us via Live Chat or by calling 101, quoting log 3798 of 20 June.”

The stabbing on 20 June is yet another violent incident on Erdington High Street this month, as the once busy throughfare becomes more and more synonymous with crime and anti-social behaviour.

On 7 June another man was found with “life threatening injuries” after officers discovered the victim near Harrison Road during a routine patrol.

Last Wednesday, 12 June, another man was arrested in connection with a robbery and reports were made a man seen “threatening people with a hammer”.

Following the attack yesterday, social media was flooded with residents concerned about rising crime in the wake of another violent attack.

Eileen Monaghan said: “Yet another stabbing on the High St. When are the authorities going to go something about the open drug dealing and drinking on the High Street?”

She added: “There is a PSPO Public Space Protection order on the High Street yet not enforced. Why not?

“Are the police are too afraid the walk the High St or is there too much paperwork for them to fill out?”

West Midlands Police have asked the anyone with information or footage that might help their investigation into the attack on 20 June can contact the force via Live Chat – or by calling 101 and quoting log 3798 of 20 June.

COMMUNITY ANCHORS: Your Voice, Your Vote

Words by Afzal Hussain – Chief Officer of Witton Lodge Community Association

At Witton Lodge we’re delighted to support the recent launch of ‘Community Voice’, a new community-led initiative that enables residents from across Erdington to have a real say on local issues and opportunities.

Together, we want to connect with those who are passionate about their community, including those ‘less heard voices’ eager to shape and deliver local services and improve their neighbourhoods.

Community Voice welcomes people from all backgrounds and will work hard to reflect the makeup of our local communities from across Erdington and North Birmingham.

We already know there is huge appetite, interest and expertise and Community Voice will help to amplify this.

Now, there is also the small matter of a general election. Our right to vote was hard-won through the tireless efforts and sacrifice of many, so please do exercise this right, and vote.

I was also reminded of sacrifice, during the recent D Day commemorations, when we heard moving accounts from our veterans about how British, Commonwealth and Allied troops made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

Your vote is your voice, and it holds the power to influence the decisions that affect local lives, shape our communities and determine the future of our country.

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

Witton Lodge Community Association is a key partner in the Erdington Local COMMUNITY ANCHORS programme, supporting independent local and community journalism.

NEWS: Erdington High Street cordoned off as police investigate man found with “life threatening injuries”

Words by Erdington Local editorial team / Pics taken from archive

Parts of Erdington High Street have been cordoned off today after police discovered a man with “life threatening injuries” yesterday evening.

A police investigation has been launched to find out what happened to the man, who is now in hospital, after patrolling officers found him at 7:30pm on Thursday 6 June.

At the time of writing there is no confirmation on how the man suffered his injuries, and police have not stated if it was or was not a result of any violent attack.

Several outlets around the Halifax Building Society and Craft Bakery, opposite the top of Harrison Road, have been sealed off with blue and white police tape whilst officers conduct their inquiries.

Shops have shut down to allow the investigation, with many workers sent home this morning.

A statement from West Midlands Police confirmed: “An investigation has been launched after a man was found with serious injuries in Erdington High Street.

“Officers patrolling the area found a man with serious injuries in Erdington High Street, at around 7.30pm on Thursday 6th June.

“He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he remains.

“A scene is currently being held to establish the circumstances as to how the man was injured.”

Police are further asking for anyone to contact them with information that may assist their inquiries, whilst assuring concerned members of the public there will be “a police presence” on the High Street whilst they conduct their investigation.

A spokesperson for the force added: “If you saw anything or can help with the investigation, you can contact us via Live Chat on our website, or by calling 101 quoting log 4572 of 6 June.

“Officers will continues to patrol the area and a police presence will remain to reassure the community.”

A spokesperson form West Midlands Ambulance Service added: “We were called at 7.31pm to an incident on High Street, Erdington. One ambulance attended the scene.

“Upon arrival we found a man in a serious condition.

“He received treatment from ambulance staff at the scene before being conveyed to hospital for further treatment.”

BACK TO SCHOOL Queensbury School wins Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the Year

Words and pics by supplied by Queensbury School

Gravelly Hill SEND secondary school and sixth form, Queensbury School, has won the Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the year 2023-2024.

Situated on Wood End Road, Queensbury School provides education and support for 11-19 years old with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

After winning the regional award earlier this year, three Queensbury students travelled to London with Head Teacher Mr Wilson and Transport Manager Mrs Richards to represent the West Midlands in the national awards.

Acting as ‘Travel Ambassadors’, the students helped plan the journey to and from the capital city.

Queensbury Head Teacher, Mr Wilson, said: “Our students not only got us to London but also presented incredibly well, melting the hearts of the audience in a packed hall at Hamiliton House. They represented the school so impeccably it was a true pleasure to go with them.

“They presented on stage to a huge national school audience on all the projects we have run in school like Bikeability and the Clean Air Zone project.

“The judges must have been impressed because we WON the nationals! Queensbury School is the Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the year 2023-2024.”

Mr Wilson added:  “Special thanks to Mrs Richards and all the staff that have been involved not just this year but over previous years with Bikeability and increasing independence.

“The is an example of Queensbury going from a ‘good school’ to a ‘great school’ and we look forward to many more to come.”

For more Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

Queensbury School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kingsthorne Primary School’s Year 6 visit Outward Bound Centre at Aberdovey

Words by Neveah in Y6 / Pics supplied by Kingsthorne Primary School

15 – 19 April were the dates of the first ever Kingsthorne Y6, four night residential to the Outward Bound Centre at Aberdovey.

The 41 children and six staff that went were truly pioneers. We all had an unforgettable experience and a great time.

The views of the estuary and beyond were gorgeous, particularly when it was sunny. We saw lots of nature too including cows, crabs, and jellyfish!

During our time at Aberdovey we conquered many fears and completed lots of fun activities. Some of the activities that we did consisted of abseiling, gorge walking, jetty jumping, and the jog and dip.

Two of my favourite activities were the jetty jump and the gorge walk. Both of these were incredibly fun, even if you did get absolutely soaking.

I learnt a lot on this trip including how to be more resilient and independent. I even learned how to make a duvet – now there is a skill for life!

Many people overcame their fears and made memories that they will never forget.

Kingsthorne Year 6 students at Aberdovey, Wales

For more on Kingsthorne Primary School visit www.kingsthorneprimary.co.uk

Kingsthorne Primary School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

NEWS: Local community join city leaders at candlelit vigil for killed schoolboy Dea-John Reid

Words by Erdington Local editorial team / Pics by Joe Marchant

On Friday 31 May, the Kingstanding and local community stood in silence at the exact spot where 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was stabbed to death in 2021 – at a special memorial event held three years ago to the day the schoolboy was killed in broad daylight on College Road.

Those attending the candlelit vigil include Dea-John’s friends and family, alongside local community leaders, Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, Edgbaston MP Preet Gill, Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, and Birmingham City Council Leader John Cotton.

The mood was mournful but defiant, unlike the vigil a week after Dea-John’s death in 2021 which pulsated with anger after hundreds of protestors descended on the area from across the country.

The racial tinderbox which could have exploded in the aftermath of the schoolboy’s killing never did, due to the hard work of local community members who worked to untie and not divide the Kingstanding or North Birmingham community.

However, the subsequent not guilty verdicts from the highly publicised murder trail sadly did little to quell the growing frustration and anger.

But that anger turned to action, and the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign has been working to make changes to the judicial process that they feel let them down in 2021.

Addressing the crowd at the 31 May vigil on College Road, the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign informed how they want to create ‘Dea-John’s Law’ – which would see jury members reflect the racial make up of an area.

In the 2021 murder trial, 11 jurors in Dea-John’s case were white in a city of 52% ethnic minority residents.

Bishop Desmond Jadoo and Dea-John’s mother, Joan Morris, led prayers at the spot where the teenager died.

Bishop Jadoo told Erdington Local: “This evening has been a success. I was pleased to see the Leader of Birmingham Council and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner here today, as well as MPs.

“What happened here three years ago, if filmed it would have been something like Mississippi Burning, and though it is important to remember Dea-John’s name and honour his memory we have to try and change the system which let him down.”

He added: “To have the backing and help of the University of Birmingham is also really important to our campaign. We have got support from young people who want to get involved, they want to see the

“We are campaigning for a civil rights law too. We cannot forget the horrific injustice which Dea-John suffered on the last day of his life and when the verdict was passed by 11 white jurors.”

At 7.34pm, a minute’s silence was held for Dea-John and then balloons were let off into the sky followed by chants declaring: “Say his name, Dea-John Reid”.

Birmingham City Council Leader Councillor John Cotton told Erdington Local: “I came to show solidarity with Dea-John’s family and stand with the community today. What happened here three years was a terrible racist murder.

“We are a majority minority city and I think the campaign is important because I believe public institutions need to reflect the communities they make decisions about.”

He added: “I think juries should reflect their communities.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster also told: “I think it was necessary to pay our respects to Dea-John and give our condolences to Dea-John’s family.

“Any change to the criminal justice system should be done after evidence led academic study. I think Birmingham University coming on board with the campaign which will give it an academic rigor which is needed.”

PICTURE GALLERY: Candlelit vigil for Dea-John Reid on third anniversary of schoolboy’s death

For more on the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ campaign visit www.facebook.com/Justice4DeaJohnReid