Birchfield Big Local is a community organisation in north-east Birmingham, focused on bringing together all the talents, passions, aspirations, skills and energy of individuals, groups and organisations to make their area an even better place to live and work.

Birchfield is one of just three Big Local areas in Birmingham and is an exciting opportunity for residents to use at least £1 million to make a lasting positive difference in their communities.

Residents taking part in Birchfield Big Local initiaitves Birchfield Big Local
Residents taking part in Birchfield Big Local community initiaitves

What is Birchfield Big Local?

The funding for Birchfield was announced in the second wave of Big Locals in February 2012. A Big Local Partnership of local residents and organisations was formed and work on the Birchfield Big Local Community Plan began.

Following a Community Conference at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in April 2013, working groups were set up to create action plans around four key themes:

  • Well Built Birchfield – making the most of the physical assets of the area
  • Well Run Birchfield – celebrating cultural heritage and strengthening local democracy and participation
  • Well Served Birchfield – enhancing local services for the young, seniors, and disabled residents
  • Thriving Birchfield – developing the local economy

The action plans were shared at a second Community Conference in September 2013 and the final document was endorsed in February 2014. This was the start of Birchfield Big Local.

Birchfield Big Local has a strong focus on connecting, contributing and celebrating its communitiesBirchfield Big Local
Birchfield Big Local has a strong focus on connecting, contributing and celebrating its communities

Birchfield Big Local Vision

With a strong focus on connecting, contributing and celebrating its community, Birchfield hopes the area will become:

  • A well-served and connected community, providing new directions to break the poverty cycle and provide a lasting legacy;
  • A community that is engaged, empowered, and enabled to address issues to create a prosperous and regenerated area;
  • A place where citizens are equal, nurtured and have a collective sense of ownership to make the area somewhere people want to come and stay.

Birchfield Big Local is a resident-led programme. The main decision-making body is the Big Local Partnership which consists mostly, but not exclusively, of residents of the Birchfield Big Local area.

The role of Partnership members is to represent the interests of residents in the Big Local area. They work in partnership with other residents to develop and review the Big Local Plan – which determines the priorities for action. Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) act as the Local Trusted Organisation (LTO) for Birchfield Big Local and manage the finances for the Partnership. There is also a Big Local Rep who is the link between the Partnership and Local Trust who have overall responsibility for the Big Local programme nationally.

Michael Thawe (left) with a local Birchfield resident Birchfield Big Local
Michael Thawe (left) with a local Birchfield resident

Who runs Birchfield Big Local?

When established, Birchfield Big Local recruited a full-time Community Development Worker, Andrew Simons, who was employed along with a part-time Volunteer Coordinator, Suki Sohi.

Since the plan was endorsed, the priority for the Partnership was to make things happen. The Partnership rented office and activity space at Grosvenor Road Studios as this was well placed within the Birchfield Big Local area, and also one of Birchfield’s best kept secrets – an internationally renowned recording studio and home to acapella group Black Voices.

Following a rigorous selection process, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) was chosen by the Partnership members as the new ‘Local Trusted Organisation’ for Birchfield Big Local. BVSC acts as the accountable body – administering the grant on behalf of the Partnership and also ensuring that the proper financial controls are in place.

BVSC also currently employ on behalf of the partnership three staff – one full time and two part-time. Birchfield Big Local relies heavily on volunteers – people who want to contribute to their local area and help other people. The volunteers are supported by a Volunteer Coordinator. The organisation is always looking for new partnership members.

Artist Adlin Shoter (centre) and with local residents Birchfield Big Local
Faith Pearson (left) from Eco Gardening Services with local artist Adlin Shoter (centre)

Birchfield Big Local Partnership

The main role of the Big Local Partnership is to make the decisions that are best for Birchfield Big Local and in line with the Birchfield Big Local plan which was agreed after extensive consultations with local people.

Another key role is building and strengthening relationships between the diverse individuals, groups, organisations and businesses within the Birchfield Big Local area. The partnership has a Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
Local people are welcome to join the partnership.

Local residents take part in 'Bloom in Birchfield 'Birchfield Big Local
Local residents take part in ‘Bloom in Birchfield ‘

Who’s who at BBL?

Here’s some of the people who currently work with the Birchfield Big Local partnership:

Baljeet Singh Ghataora – Chair
Tina Brown – Love – Treasurer
Dorrette Hanson – Newsletter Editor
Barbara Petris – Partner
Colleen Dixon – Partner
Jimoh Folarin – Partner
Father Bob Stephen – Partner
Dhulhaan Peduru – Partner
Leosha Daniels – Partner
Tom Clements  – Partner
Kate Luxmoore – Partner
Jasbir Rai – Deputy CEO & Finance Director, BVSC
Sue McGavin – Big Local Representative

Andrew Simons – Community Development Worker
Mehnaz Afzal – Volunteer Co-ordinator (part time)
Russell Green – Youth Worker (part time)

Volunteer Team:

Adlin Shorter – Arts & Events Support
Cherelle Dowdie – English Language Trainer
Mehnaz Afzal – Women’s Group Coordinator
Mehnaz Fatma – English Language Trainer
Nyah Cole – Reception/Youth Work Support
Stephen Green – IT Support

Cllr Mariam Khan with a Birchfield resident Birchfield Big Local
Birmingham Cllr Mariam Khan with a local Birchfield resident

WATCH: Find out more about Birchfield Big Local:


To find out more about Birchfield Big Local, visit their website here.

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https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Birchfield-Big-Local-My-Endz-with-Andrew-Simons-1-800x514.jpghttps://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Birchfield-Big-Local-My-Endz-with-Andrew-Simons-1-300x193.jpgStaff ReporterCommunityNewsAndrew Simons,area,BBL,Big Local,Big Local Birchfield,Birchfield,Birchfield Big Local area,Birmingham,BLB,BSVC,City,community,North Birmingham,North East Birmingham,partnership,residential,Residents,What is Birchfield Big Local?,Where is Birchfield?,Who's Who?Birchfield Big Local is a community organisation in north-east Birmingham, focused on bringing together all the talents, passions, aspirations, skills and energy of individuals, groups and organisations to make their area an even better place to live and work. Birchfield is one of just three Big Local areas in Birmingham and...The latest news, updates and events in Birmingham