Walk Works, a new Community Interest Company, founded by Vicki Smith and Fran Wilde aims to explore Black Country heritage and the arts through outdo events, mainly walks for looking and experiencing.
The good news is that they have been commissioned by the Office of Public Health in Dudley to run four walks along Brierley Hill Canal to demonstrate the contribution walking makes to helping us feel good.
The walks will take place on Thursdays 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd October. They will start at the statue of John Northwood, near to the Marks and Spencer/Argos entrance at Merry Hill, at 10.30am and finish around noon.
I’ve had the good experience to have been on one of Fran and Vicki’s walks before – in Cradley Heath – and found their local knowledge fascinating. So I’m happy to recommend this if you’re free on any of those Thursdays. Booking and other information are in the flyer below.
Last night I went to the ‘launch’ event of Dudley Voices for Choice at the David Lloyd Centre, Brierley Hill. I put ‘launch’ in inverted commas as they have actually been around for over a decade now. But last night was a celebration of the next stage of their development – the award of charitable status.
I had been invited by Rachael and Tina who I had met at the WeLoveCarers awards a week or so back.
Once again it was an inspiration.
DVC work with people with learning disabilities to give make sure their voice is heard when decisions are being made which affect them. Importantly they also employ people with learning disabilities and autism to deliver their training too – making sure they get paid for their work.
What made the launch special was that it was, fittingly, the users of the service themselves who told the story of the evolution of Dudley Voices for Choice. DVC has supported them in getting involved in many fora where their voice can get heard. It had helped them too when they had wanted to demonstrate against the closure of day centres in the borough.
On a individual perspective, Rachael told her story of having a total lack of confidence, how she had turned up at DVC sessions and how now she was lecturing herself, helping others to understand the challenges faced by those with learning disabilities. It was a shining example of success, and it was almost impossible to believe, listening to her, that Rachael had ever lacked in confidence.
The event made me appreciate four things in particular:
How much potential there is in every person if only a route can be found to release it.
How much we should appreciate and support organisations, like this one, that can change lives for the better.
Those with learning needs are people too. Of course they are. They have the same emotions, the same needs, the same hopes and the same dreams as we all do. They should have the right to have a say on decisions which affect them too. All credit to DVC for giving them the means to have that voice.
How much courage it takes to stand up and address an audience of well over a hundred. Particularly when you have learning difficulties. Yet the young service users of DVC did this highly effectively and with determination.
It was very kind of Rachel and Tina to invite me to the event. I do hope that DVC goes from strength to strength. It a valuable service which deserves success.
Lacking in confidence? After the formalities Rachael asked me to dance. I NEVER dance. Yet I couldn’t resist her request so charmingly put was it.
I’ve been to Symphony Hall, the NEC, The Albert Hall, West End theatres…all at great cost. Yet a £5 Black Country Folk, Food and Fun evening at St John’s Church Brockmoor gave me as much pleasure and enjoyment. I do hope these evenings become a regular event. Steve Martin and his wife Sue provided the warm up act – choosing songs well know to all – getting everyone to join in and sing along from the start. Bob and Pam provided the comedy – as good as Aynock and Ayli – and the star turn of the evening was Keith Judson who sang his own compositions accompanied by his own extraordinary guitar playing. Particularly moving were Keith’s songs about the impoverished nail makers of Bromsgrove and the Black Country working under terrible conditions – white slaves – and ironically making the shackles and chains for the black slaves of Africa, and a composition dedicated to his late mother and father. At the interval food was brought to our table – no queueing – which included a sweet too. St John’s provided an excellent venue. The accoustics were really good, its historic setting provided a special atmosphere for the night and the performance space was ideal. Churches need to move beyond the traditional church service to find new uses to complement their use as a place of worship and to ensure their continued viability into the future. Events like this point the way to how it can be done. So many thanks to all involved. A great evening was had by all. Finally here’s a youtube on an impromptu dance to give you flavour of the atmosphere. (NB sound quality due to the fact this was recorded on my iphone – doesn’t do justice to the live sound at the event).
I am writing to invite you to the next meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society which will take place on Monday, 16th June 2014 at St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill commencing at 5.30pm.
Our main speaker this meeting is Jayne Pilkington who will be talking on:
“Conserving the Heritage Assets of the Borough: a Conservation Officer’s Perspective”.
Jayne is the remaining member of the Conservation team in Dudley and I am sure that she will have lots of interesting things to say.
The agenda for the meeting will therefore be:
Minutes of the previous meeting (see below)
Brierley Hill in Bloom
Brierley Hill Community Forum
Any other urgent business
Date of next meeting:
19th July 2014 – “Brierley Hill’s Great War” – Tim Sunter
An appeal is going out for residents, community groups, schools and business to support their town by becoming ‘bloomers’ and adopting one or more of the planters which will be brightening up Brierley Hill this summer.
The Brierley Hill in Bloom project has won support from the the High Street Traders Association and the government’s Community First initiative to purchase planters to be placed on the roadside barriers radiating out from Five Ways.
Other partners have offered their support – including Birmingham Metropolitan College, Brierley Hill Market, The Civic Society, Dudley MBC, Dudley CCG and Insight House – and a plan has been put together to deliver the scheme.
Students on the College’s horticultural course are already growing the plants. 26 planters are on order as part of phase one of the scheme and it is hoped that the first displays will be up in time for St George’s Day on 26th April.
But now organisers are looking to extend community involvement by asking for help in maintaining the plants when they are in.
Chair of Brierley Hill Civic Society, Tim Sunter said:
“The initial partnership approach to the scheme has been really heartening. Building on the success of the Brierley Hill Christmas Festival there is a real will to support our town. What we need now is support from businesses, individuals, schools…anyone who wants to make a difference. We want them to become our ‘bloomers’ people willing to adopt one or more planters to make sure that they are properly watered and looked after. It would also be terrific if we could identify bloomers who want to grow some plants to contribute to our next display this autumn.”
For anyone who would like to get involved then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and further information can then be provided.