Tag: Edgbaston

Birmingham Social Media Surgeries

Lynn Horsnett and Nick Booth
Lynn Horsnett and Nick Booth at Kings Norton SMS

Over the last few years the social media surgery movement has spread further than anyone could have imagined at that first (and supposedly one off) event back in 2008.  There are now surgeries held in 70 different towns and cities all over the uk, and further beyond, in Australia, Canada, Switzerland and even Nepal to name but a few.

But, in the birth place of the Surgeries, Birmingham, there has been another spread happening -less global and more local,  into our communities. In the last 6 months we have been working with partners such as the local strategic partnership and the police across the city and with their support there have been surgeries in:

as well as the continued support for the Central Birminham sessions.

These surgeries have been able to support people where they live and work, to enable them to get online to support the good work that they are doing in their neighbourhoods.

Like Lol Thurstan for instance, he came along asking for help distributing his monthly Neighbourhood Watch newsletter and we helped him set up a blog. Lol is now already exploring the possiblilities of sharing more than just hisNeighbourhood Watch news with his community – taking the idea of a neighbourhood magazine and reproducing it online, and there’s Sandra Turner. Sandra wanted some support promoting her community centre and finding out what was going on in her area. We sat with her while she set up a facebook page and later a twitter account so now she can do just that – it’s enabled her to share information online and make connections with others in her area.

And we’re not done yet. There are more dates already set and hopefully still more to come.  We’d love to see you there whether it to receive some support or to offer your help. You can visit www.socialmediasurgery.com to register to attend any of these sessions, or find one nearer to you.


Using Social Media Surgeries to Improve Perceptions of Safety in Birmingham

At the moment we are in the middle of a project working with the South Birmingham Community Safety Partnership. This involves running social media surgeries across communities in South Birmingham to improve civic conversations in those areas, get the communities and local partners talking to each other and getting their news online and hopefully in doing so, positively changing their perceptions of safety.

In the video below we took 5 minutes   to catch up with Austin Rodriguez the Safer Places Officer with Birmingham South Community Safety Partnership to tell us what they were hoping to achieve and what outcomes he’s seen from the project so far…..




Pimps, prostitutes and Grandad’s Army – new podcast on the Grassroots Channel

Chris Hoare

This is the story of Chris Hoare: a grandfather who’s worked for years to clear prostitution from the Waterworks Estate on the borders of Edgbaston and Ladywood in inner-city Birmingham. His neighbours were so fearful of the pimps that they asked Chris to step up and take action. To find out why he did it this way please listen to the podcast.

The tower over Chris’s shoulder is Perrott’s Folly – a building with links to Tolkien. He worked with the Birmingham Conservation Trust (declaration – I’m a trustee!) to prevent the building’s collapse. Next steps are to use it as a tourist draw, turning what was once a neighbourhood riddled with vice into an international family attraction.

The residents have also transformed many of their communal areas. Chris is standing in front of Anderton Gardens, a new garden named after a police sergeant who worked with them. (created with help from Groundwork Birmingham)

The pragmatic approach of Chris and others in the Birmingham South West residents group reminds me of so many others we’ve spoken to on the Grassroots Channel, especially the people of Perry Common and Masood Yasin in Washwood Heath.

Thanks to Paul from the Chamberlain Forum for introducing me to Chris.