Category: Grassroots Channel

Meeting and talking to people doing fabulous things in communities.

Making Britain a better place: a new podcast from the Grassroots Channel

Noorin Akhtar
Noorin Ahktar

Noorin Ahktar wants to change Britain. She goes out interviewing the people at the top – leaders of the council, councillors, public service providers and holds them to account in a way accessible to her community. Her aim is to make sure some communities know about the changes being made in public services – she promotes and raises awareness in ethnic communities – she now has a rogramme called ‘Community Time’. She has set up a blog, and uses radio and tv channels to make the short programmes in English, Urdu, Punjabi, and a number of different languages.

Noorin thinks some communities are wrongly perceived as ‘hard to reach’ – she challenges this point of view with her truly innovative and brilliant work. Her inspiration is the fact if people of aware of what is going on around them, they will have the knowledge to be able to do things.

Manjit Singh nominated Noorin for the active citizen award, one of the shortlist categories for Birmingham’s Local Hearts Awards.

A whole lot of courage: A new podcast for the Grassroots Channel

Suzanne Coward and Linda Kelly
Suzanne Coward and Linda Kelly

When Suzanne Coward’s daughter Sarah, who has learning difficulties, turned 23, she realised she could use direct payment money to set up a cafe, Stepping Stones. Situated in Sutton Coldfield at the United Reform church, the cafe offers a day experience for people with learning difficulties to hang out, socialise and feel enabled to do things which they wouldn’t often get the opportunity to do.

Suzanne saw a gap in the north of the city, where there were no social enterprise services for people with learning difficulties.  She wants to encourage healthy living, exercise and creating things which are meaningful for people with learning difficulties. Linda Kelly, Senior Youth and Community Development Worker in Sutton Coldfield, has nominated Suzanne for the active citizen Local Hearts award for the work she has done for children with learning difficulties.

The reluctant activist: a new podcast from the Grassroots Channel

Michael Tye and Eunice McGhie-Bellgrave
Michael Tye and Eunice McGhie-Belgrave

This is the story of Michael Tye, the man who helped set up Aston Vision Ministries Association in 1984. The organisation aims to reach people in the community, particularly asylum seekers, by helping them with language and social integration. For his relentless work engaging the community through Aston Vision, Michael was nominated by Eunice McGhie-Belgrave for the Birmingham Local Hearts Award, in the active citizen category.

Michael said people who want to give some back to their community do so because they recognise how helping the community will in turn help themselves. He questions those who do community work for self-aggrandisement. He wants to work towards the common good – and is not so keen on being the one in the spotlight. Here he tells us his story.

Erma Lewis, recycling wheelchairs – a new programme on the Grassroots Channel.

Erma Lewis
Erma Lewis

Six years ago Erma Lewis started the ‘Wheelchair recycling, we can do’ project which refurbishes old and disused wheelchairs for people on NHS waiting lists or for family events and one-offs. This project sprang out of an appeal she ran following storm damage on her one time home island of Jamaica.

As a former nurse, Erma had seen the problem of people being unable to leave hospital for want of a wheelchair.  She began to think that if she was able to find and ship old wheelchairs to the Caribbean then perhaps she could also provide them locally.  Now the idea is a registered charity and a team of volunteers repair wheelchairs at a workshop in Harborne.

This podcast was recorded just before the Local Hearts Awards in Birmingham in October 2009 – where she was shortlisted in the category of female active Citizen.