Tag: Local Hearts Award

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.

Communities through the ages: A new podcast from the Grassroots Channel

Barry Toon and Jan Quigley
Jan Quigley and Barry Toon

Starting community work in the 1960s, Barry Toom has had the chance to see how community work and attitudes towards it has changed through the decades. A tireless worker for the Bournbrook Community Safety Project, as well as the TARA neighbourhood forum, Barry Toon feels like a veteran in community work – and now his years has been acknowledged by being shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement award, for Birmingham’s Local Hearts Awards, nominated by Jan Quigley.

Barry’s work has revolved around making sure we prepared for an emergency – as part of the Birmingham Resilience Team he has helped to make sure people know what to do in case of man-made and natural disasters. Barry thinks in all decades people will campaign for change – but things aren’t always how they used to be. Here’s his story.