Majid Mahmood wins it for Labour in Hodge Hill

The Labour Party Candidate Majid Mahmood was announced the winner of the Hodge Hill elections in the early hours of the morning.

Winning with a majority of  2386, Labour have swung the vote back for Hodge Hill this year with a huge 58.15%.

Liberal Democrats Candidate Gwyn Neilly took 23.09% of the poll and The Conservative Party Candidate Ash Zaman only 8.89%.

A total of 6807 residents turned out to vote this year in Hodge Hill at the Beaufort Social Club and votes were counted at Hodge Hill School. A full table of results are available here.

Hodge Hill drug crime

In November last year, Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne talked of a persistant drug crime problem in the local area and efforts in place to attempt to control the problem.

Speaking of new initiatives, the local MP described plans for a ‘taking the ground’ scheme which intended to clean up the area in order to deter drug dealers from hanging around Hodge Hill.

However, five months on and West Midlands Police find that they are still carrying out drug searches accross Hodge Hill.

On 21st April @bhameastpolice announced just how many search warrants they had carried out in the area. :

“Our teams in Hodge Hill constituency have carried out 21 warrants (drugs and search warrants) since the start of April#serveprotectwmp

If you have any complaints of drug dealing in the local area, get in touch via our ‘contact’ page or leave a comment below.

Spring time at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

For those of you who aren’t able to make it there yourself, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens have begun to put together slide show images. The first is a selection of images from the gardens in early spring, listen carefully and you will hear the birds whistling in the background.

Don’t forget Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens ‘Easter Event’. Saturday 23rd April- 1-4pm. Free car parking. Click here for more information. 

Castle Bromwich library introduces ‘Book Doctor’

Image by Jason Brackins

When was the last time you visited the library? Did you know that even if your local library doesn’t have the book you want you can still order it in?

Castle Bromwich library is the latest of  Solihull Council’s Libraries to take part in the Book Doctor scheme in a bid to get more people reading. The scheme aims to target people who haven’t read for a while or may be stuck on which book they should read next.

Book Doctor works by filling out an online form that analyses you reading interests, whether it is a short read or a large print book, the Book Doctor scheme aims to help a variety of book requests and needs.

But will it work with in the community? Local resident Jessica Hood says:

“When I’ve finished a book I’m often stuck as to which I should read next, so the scheme will really help with suggestions that suit my taste. Knowing that I can then borrow these books from my local library will save a lot of money.”

For more information about the scheme, please click here.

Royal Wedding fever hits Acorns

Acorns’ Castle Bromwich manager Gemma Key (centre) with volunteers Darren Hall and Bernadette Costello.

Royal Wedding fever made its way to Acorns, Castle Bromwich last week as staff members dressed in donated wedding gowns in a bid to encourage couples to buy donated dresses.

The Timberley Lane branch will be celebrating the Royal Wedding in style with its new dedicated bridal wear department that will help raise vital funds for life limited children at Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Couples spend thousands of pounds on their wedding so Acorns are encouraging people to save hundreds by buying donated dresses.

Acorns’ Castle Bromwich manager Gemma Key said:  “It helped people to realise that we had a bridal floor, and we had an exciting day wearing the gowns.  It felt like a real wedding.”

The day was said to be a success and attracted lots of attention from shoppers:

“Chocolates were on offer to all the customers everyone was in high spirits. Everyone was talking about it:  Customers loved our wedding floor and bought dresses. We had fantastic feedback: everyone loved the fact that we went all out to promote it. I want to thank all of our volunteers who dressed up – including the boys wore designer suits for the groom – and made the day successful.”

Acorns works to provide children with constant care by offering stasy at the hospices for short breaks, emergency and end-of-life care.  The community team give support to the family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Donations can be taken in Acorns stores from 9-5pm.

Click here to visit Acorns.

Sports College gets gold

Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College has been awarded Investors in People Gold status, meaning that the school has gone beyond the nationally recognised Standard and achieved the highest award possible for the way it trains and develops its staff.

The school, which has 170 staff, caters for 1170 pupils from some of the diverse communities in East Birmingham and recently received a ‘Good’ in its last Ofsted Inspection. It is now one of just ten companies in every thousand to be recognised at this level.

Headteacher Marie McMahon said “we are committed to investing in our staff and to seeing them develop. The sense of ownership and commitment at all levels here at Hodge Hill is very important to us. Achieving gold status is recognition of the hard work and endeavor shown by all our staff”.

Associate Headteacher, Andrew Burns explained that Hodge Hill’s main objective for implementing the Investors in People Standard has been to improve performance at all levels, to review their practices and, of course, to add value for their pupils.

Marie and Andrew feel that engaging with Investors in People has helped ensure that “there is a high level of understanding amongst all staff of the school’s vision and goals. Consequently, the school now has a workforce which expects and copes with new initiatives rather than resists change.”

Staff at Hodge Hill feel that the impact of all this on the school has been profound, and has been a key factor behind the transformation that has taken place. Being an Investor in People has contributed to the quality of staff recruitment procedures; to team building and to the development of strong and effective leadership at all levels and to high levels of employee satisfaction and engagement.

Commenting on the school’s achievement, the Investors in People assessor said, “This is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations are due to all the staff at Hodge Hill, not only for achieving Gold status but also for their recent excellent Ofsted report.”

Hodge Hill is now an NPQH placement school and has links to other schools both nationally and internationally through the Local Leader of Education network and contacts made via the senior management team. Spurred on by this latest award, the school is looking forward to sharing best practice, and some of the lessons learned along the way(!) with other schools.

Source: WM Regional Newsletter & Matthew Wheeler

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens launches its first blog

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Blog

The beautiful Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens has launched its very first blog in hope that contributors and volunteers will come forward to help preserve this special part our history.

Already responsible for their successful Twitter account (@cbhallgardens) and Facebook page, press officer Graham High is extremely passionate about the gardens and hopes the blog will help to promote, inform and create opportunity for contributors.

“I wanted to open up the site to serve as an outlet for the many creative and knowledgeable people I have met, worked, and corresponded with during my limited acquaintance with the gardens. Volunteers, staff and visitors have quite an astonishing breadth of knowledge and experience, and I feel that it is a real shame that this resource remains largely untapped. It is open to anyone in the world who would like to contribute,” says Graham.

Grahams hopes that contributors will bring ‘knowledge, creativity and fun’ to the blog and that it will offer something different to any other heritage website.

“Our official website and Twitter takes care of the Trust’s news, so the blog has an opportunity to step out a little from the beaten track.”

The blog provides local residents with a great opportunity to get involved and help to preserve the history of Castle Bromwich. Contributors can be of any age group and articles can be about history, natural history, science, horticulture, stories, poetry, photography or arts. Graham also hopes that volunteers may also come forward to help in the running of the gardens as a direct result of the blog.

“I would like the blog readers to also occasionally take a moment to think of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, what an incredible asset it is to the community and for them to help preserve this miniature wonderland by visiting or offering their services as volunteers.”

For more information about how you can contribute please click here.

Follow Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens on Twitter.

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Polarbear performs ‘RETURN’ at The Hub, Bromford

Birmingham- born wordsmith Polar Bear, performed the moving piece ‘RETURN’ at The Hub, Bromford on Saturday 19th March, as part of the pop up arts tearoom project.

One of the most respected spoken word artists in the UK, Polarbear is renowned for delivering stories that make sense; stories that relate. With hip-hop roots that combine perfectly with his brilliant poetry, his performance was both unique and memorable.

“RETURN” tells the story of Noah, a man trying to figure out where he fits. Convinced he had to leave home in order to make his mark, Noah returns to find a world where a lot of things seem the same but nothing actually is.

Combining storytelling with a distinctive lighting and projection design, “RETURN” exploits its relationship with cinematic genres. The show journeys through scenes and landscapes, encouraging you to explore and, like a film director, be challenged to re-imagine as the story unfolds…

The Bromford tearoom slowly filled up, as people from outside crept in, intrigued as to why the room was so dimly lit and why we were all transfixed with this performance, once they were in, they didn’t leave.

His audience chuckled as they related to his 90’s film and music references and memories of hanging around girls in the park. His voice, his tone, his pauses between scenes were perfect; the soft music in the background and words projected onto the board behind put you in the scene immediately.

Both captivating and moving, Polarbear captures the sense of ‘home’ perfectly. His scene setting and descriptions allow you to picture the characters and places, making the performance all the more real. Polarbear encourages you to reminicse on your own memories of home, triggering emotion in those who have ever left and returned.

It was a unique performance that will stay with you for a long time and proved to be a great opportunity for his audience, who were appreciative and applauding throughout this compelling story.

Watch a small clip of ‘RETURN,’ performed at The Hub, Bromford.

All content in this video was filmed by B36Blogger.

Find out more about the pop up arts tea room in Bromford.

Polarbear’s website.

Follow B36Blogger on Twitter.

Boot camp exercise class in Castle Vale

Image from Harriet Norris Personal Training

A Wednesday night in Castle Vale is spent getting rather sweaty for some certain ladies, who are regular attendees to a sucessful bootcamp workout session.

Harriet Norris from Solihull set up a women’s only bootcamp exercise class at Topcliffe Primary School in Castle Vale after the success of the same class in Water Orton.

By day, Harriet is a personal trainer, at just 21 she is extremely knowledgeable and skilled at what she does. The highly demanded class in Castle Vale is an extension to her personal training work and Harriet is calling all local ladies to give it a try.

The class is intense and tones just about every muscle in your body, and for just £5, you really are getting a good work out for your money.

“The class involves a full body work out,” says Harriet “We do cardio work, strength based work, full body toning and aim to reduce body fat.”

No matter what your age or exercise history is, Harriet lets you go at your own pace, “We have many different women at the class who range from early 20’s up to 55 years old, ” says Harriet “We currently have around 12 members who attend the Castle Vale class.”

The session is on a Wednesday night, held at Topcliffe Primary School in Castle Vale from 6:45 to 7:45 pm and costs £5. New recruits can also contact Harriet through her Twitter or Facebook page.

For more information about the class or Harriet Norris Personal Training, click here.

Police Appeal: Anti Social Behaviour- Castle Bromwich

West Midlands Police are asking for people to come forward regarding anti-social behaviour in the Green Lane area of Castle Bromwich. The specific roads concerned are Wyckham road and Windleaves road.

If you have any information regarding people involved please contact telephone number 0345 113 5000  ext 7922 6741.

Alternatively, you can email