Together We Can! East Birmingham estate multiplying its connections


The Firs and Bromford estate in east Birmingham is benefitting from an extra £375,000 of investment over the next three years, thanks to a ‘Reaching Communities’ grant from the Big Lottery. Added to funding through local residents group Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together, the estate will see almost half a million pounds invested in ‘Together We Can!’, a project which will take the already well-established community-building work in the area to the next level. ‘Together We Can!’ will employ four full-time workers to bring together young people and adults from the estate, across its diverse cultures and backgrounds, to grow existing community projects, to start new groups and activities, and to engage more and more local people in relationships with their neighbours.

Instead of focusing negatively on the ‘challenges’ of the area, the work of residents on Firs and Bromford has deliberately taken a more positive approach, seeking out local people with passions, skills and talents, and supporting them to share them with their neighbours. One of the outstanding successes of the area over the last few years has been the development and growth of the Bromford Theatre Group, which now puts on an annual Christmas Panto and many other events each year, drawing in local people who have shared their ‘behind the scenes’ talents for costume-making, set design and catering, as well as acting ‘centre-stage’. ‘Together We Can!’ is building on that great work and, through door-knocking and drop-ins, street events and intergenerational social action projects, along with more intensive 1-to-1 mentoring and support, will help more and more local people to grow in confidence, skills and connections in their neighbourhood and beyond.

Chair of Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together, Florence Parkes, said: ‘This is such an exciting new stage in the life of our neighbourhood. It’s not just about the money – it’s about building a growing, thriving community here. None of us can do it on our own, but we’re saying: “Together We Can!”’

‘Together We Can!’ is a partnership project between Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together (the local residents group administering the Big Lottery’s 10-year ‘Big Local’ investment in the neighbourhood), Worth Unlimited (a locally-rooted youth work charity) and Open Door Community Foundation (a community-building charity that was set up locally last year, out of the work of the local church).

Editors note:

For more information, contact Florence Parkes (Chair, FBNT), 07773 659718, or Revd Al Barrett (Open Door Community Foundation), 07738 119210.

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