As a cheerleader for my neighbourhood, the often maligned and misunderstood Birmingham suburb of Balsall Heath, it was probably inevitable that at some point I would end up developing some kind of media project for Balsall Heath.
Back in October I was commissioned by Balsall Heath Forum to (among other things) work on a short term project to develop a ‘Neighbourhood News’ website for Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath. Along with the Editor of the newsletter, Beth Charis and web developer and writer, Hayley Frances, we worked together to develop two editions of a newsletter as well as an online news, directory and events website.
The website, www.neighbourhoodnewsonline.com is a great resource for finding out about what is happening locally. Its aim is to support local residents in connecting with one another and engage in activities to support their health and wellbeing, but it really is the some of its parts.
Users can upload their own news items, events and directory listings using the easy online forms, so it really is a user generated project. The events page is particularly well worth a look as there are events happening almost daily! Thanks to everyone who has shared items so far.
The Spring edition of the newsletter, like its predecessor the ‘Balsall Heathan’, is currently being distributed to homes in Balsall Heath and it is already being well received:
‘I just wanted to say thank you for coming back as I love the topics that are covered in the spring issue.’Reader via e-mail
Now that the Local Innovation Funding from Birmingham City Council has ended, we are now looking to develop the project further. Short term funding is being provided by The Active Wellbeing Society who are funding a series of community media workshops. If you are interested in hosting one of these then do get in touch.
In the longer term we would like to produce more copies of the newsletter and work in partnership with local residents who want to develop journalistic skills. A funding application has been submitted, so keep your fingers crossed!
This could be a sustainable and important media project which really feeds into how people feel about this area. Because it’s wonderful.
But some of us knew that already…