Kiran lights the Olympic Cauldron

Many Handsworth Residents will know Kiran as she was the Vice Chair of the Soho Finger Neighbourhood Forum.
Olympic Torch Cauldron
Kiran Sahota making Handsworth proud yesterday. 
Read her amazing story below.
EXCITEMENT spread like wildfire as a crowd of 20,000 caught their first glimpse of the famous flame at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park.
They erupted as Kiran Sahota, the last Olympics 2012 torch-bearer of the day, ran up onto the stage to light the cauldron.
Legendary crooner Sir Cliff Richard handed the torch to Kiran – and for the 27-year-old it was a particularly poignant moment.
Since the age of 17, Kiran has been a carer for her 78-year-old grandad Bhajan Singh, whom she said was an “avid fan” of Cliff
Bhajan suffers from schizophrenia, diabetes and a heart murmur. Kiran’s grandmother Surjit Kaur was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, when Kiran gave up work to look after them both. Her 77-year-old nan died in November that year. “I didn’t expect I would ever get the chance to do anything like this,” said Kiran. “My grandad says he’s proud and I just wish my nan was here.
The jewellery company owner said her parents have already cleared a space for her torch in a glass cabinet at their Handsworth home, where Kiran also lives.

Photocall: 10.30am onwards on Sunday 13 November
Centenary Square, Broad St

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anita Ward, will lead the Remembrance Day Service and Parade on Sunday 13 November at the city’s Hall of Memory and Centenary Square.

Everyone is invited to attend and also to observe the two-minute silence at 11am.

Order of the day:
10.00 hrs: Salvation Army Band commences to play on Centenary Square
10.20 hrs: Uniformed Contingents march on
10.30 hrs: Members of the City Council and VIP’s proceed to the Grandstand
10.35 hrs: The Civic Wreath Laying Party leaves the ICC
10.40 hrs: The Mercian Band, West Midlands Fire Service Pipe Band, Standards & Associations march
10.50 hrs: The Lord Mayor’s party will proceed from the ICC to the platform.

The Rev Victor Van Den Bergh will conduct the Service of Remembrance and the Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Rev David Urquhart, will lay a wreath.

The Lord Mayor will lead the Act of Commemoration, saying: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Prior to 11am a Roll of Drums will take place, then the playing of “The Last Post”.  After the two-minute silence, a salute of gunfire will take place.  The Salvation Army will lead the singing of “O God our Help in Ages Past”.

Day of National Remembrance
Wreath laying will then take place, led by the Lord Mayor.  After all wreaths have been laid the Lord Mayor will proceed to await the march past.  The Parade will disperse in Cambridge St.

Traffic Restrictions for the event:
0700 – 1230 hours – Cambridge Street between Brindley Drive and King Alfred’s Place
0900 – 1200 hours – Broad Street between Gas Street and Paradise Circus

Signed diversions will be in operation.

from by KarenB

Birmingham City Council, along with many other local authorities, will not be collecting green waste during the winter season, because people tend to garden less.

The last fortnightly green waste collections will take place between 14th and 25th November. Collections will resume, on the usual allotted day, from 6th February 2012.

Black sack, paper and mixed waste recycling collections will continue as normal throughout the winter.

Councillor Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, said: “With the majority of plants and trees dormant through the winter our experience shows that the demand for green collections throughout these months is minimal. It is therefore far more efficient for us to suspend the service and concentrate our resources on other areas throughout this period.”

Members of the public can still take green waste to their local household recycling centre or consider a more long term solution, such as composting their own garden waste and kitchen vegetables, by purchasing a compost bin.  

Compost bins can be purchased from or by calling: 0845 130 6090

from by SimonH

WEST Midlands Police, together with other police forces in the region, is launching a new, non-emergency contact number for the public today (Tuesday 08 November).

The new 101 number is being introduced to improve access to police, ease pressure on the 999 system and to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The 101 service is part of a national programme to improve access to the police and will give the public an easy way to get in touch with the police for calls that do not require an urgent response.

The system will work by redirecting people’s calls, wherever they are in the country, to their nearest police force and is intended to be easier for people to remember.

Callers using the number will incur a flat rate charge of 15p no matter how long the call lasts and whether their call is made from a landline or mobile.

The 101 number should be used to report a crime or anti-social behaviour which does not need an emergency response. For example, it could be used to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make police aware of local policing issues.

In an emergency, members of the public should continue to use 999.


There’s a distinctly traditional feel to this year’s spectacular Christmas Parade on Saturday 12 November, when Father Christmas is joined by Mary and Joseph, and the Three Wise Men … riding real camels!

Marking the start of the festive season when Birmingham’s Lights are switched on, two sleighs pulled by Rudolph and his reindeer head the parade with Father Christmas, the Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor’s Consort escorted by a party of elves. 

Bringing the real meaning of Christmas to the parade, they will be closely followed by a traditional nativity scene float with Mary, Joseph and a donkey and the Three Wise Men on camels.

Helping Father Christmas on his way through Birmingham city centre will be all our favourite Christmas characters.  Expect to see larger than life Jack Frosts, Christmas Trees, Crackers, Holly, Mistletoe, Angels and even some Tap Dancing Turkeys! 

You can also get a taste of Birmingham’s Christmas productions with a chance to see the REP’s beautiful Sleeping Beauty and a pink Cadillac, T Birds and the Pink Ladies from the New Alexandra’s Christmas production of Grease.  But watch out for Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers!

At the rear of the parade will be an illuminated smiley land train with four lucky prizewinning families aboard.  Last of all will be a giant puppet Father Christmas, a massive 4.8 metres high.

Before and after the parade children can meet the stars of the Christmas movie ‘Chipwrecked’, as life-sized Alvin and the Chipmunks mingle with the crowds in Victoria Square.  There’s also a chance to meet the real reindeer, camels and nativity donkey taking part, from 3pm – 4.30pm and after the parade from 6.30pm – 7pm.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said, “Birmingham’s hugely popular Christmas Parade signals the start of the festive season.  It is one of many free and exciting events organised by Birmingham City Council and everyone is invited to join in the celebrations.”

Starting at 5pm, temporary traffic restrictions around Birmingham city centre will be in place with roads re-opening as soon as the Parade has passed.  Roads affected are: Colmore Row, Temple Row West, Temple Row, Cherry Street, Corporation Street and Bull Street.

The Parade line-up and timings are correct at time of going to press but may be subject to change

Details of Community Forum meetings have been announced.

Anyone interested in having their say on the proposals, launched last week, is invited to attend any of the sessions detailed below.

Saturday 22nd October (10am-12noon)
The Council House
Victoria Square
B1 1BB
Committee Rooms 3&4
All bus and train routes into City Centre
No on-site parking, please use public car parks

Thursday 27th October (6.30-8.30pm)
Alexander Stadium
Walsall Road
Perry Barr
B42 2LR
Buses – 51, x51, 424, 952
Free on-site parking

Wednesday 2nd November (6.30-8.30pm)
Sutton Coldfield United Reformed Church
1 Brassington Avenue
Sutton Coldfield,
B73 6AA 
Buses: All buses into Sutton Coldfield Town Centre
Train: 2 minutes walk from Sutton Coldfield station

Thursday 3rd November (6.30-8.30pm)
Newtown Community Centre
57 Newtown Shopping Centre 
Buses: 7, 8, 51, 107, 52, 33, 934, 56
On site car parking available

Monday 7th November ( 6.30-8.30pm)
Bournville College – new campus
1 Longbridge Lane
B31 2AJ
Buses: 45, 49, 63, X62, 143, 144
Grosvenor buses: BV1, BV2, BV3
Train: 2 minutes walk from Longbridge station
Free car parking available on Bristol Rd opposite the college

Wednesday 9th November (6.30-8.30pm)
Kings Heath Community Centre
8 Heathfield Rd
Kings Heath
Buses: 11, 50, 50A, x50, 35
Free on site parking

from birminghamnewsroom.comby geoffc


WEST Midlands Police is listening to the concerns of the public and advising people on how to feel safer during Halloween.

Halloween can be an intimidating time, especially for anyone who is elderly or vulnerable. Many youngsters consider 31 October to be an opportunity to play harmless jokes, not realising the distress that their actions can cause.

The force is reminding young people to show consideration and respect to others, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, and is working with schools across the region to offer tips on how to trick or treat responsibly.

Superintendent Sue Southern said: “We want young people to have an enjoyable and safe Halloween, and to remember that some people may feel intimidated by trick or treaters at their door – no matter how harmless young people think their actions might be.

“Halloween can be a frightening time of year for some elderly citizens and we are committed to making this group feel safer. We have a number of activities taking place across the West Midlands during this seasonal period to ensure all our communities feel safe.”

Police would like to reassure elderly and vulnerable people by providing the following advice:

During Halloween, if you are worried about problems caused by ‘trick or treaters’ try to arrange to visit a friend or relative or invite someone to sit with you so you are not alone.

If you are very worried, or have experienced problems before and will be home alone during Halloween, you can call West Midlands Police on their non-emergency number (0345 113 5000) before the night. You are welcome to ask if your local neighbourhood officers can pay particular attention to your street while on patrol.

If you are home alone and do not have anyone who can sit with you, consider the following advice:

1. Always put the chain on the door before opening it
2. Ask all callers at the door for identification
3. If you’re unsure about the caller, call a neighbour and ask them to come round to help you
4. Do not let the caller into your house while you’re checking their identity – if they’re genuine they will wait
5. If you’re still unsure or feel uncomfortable in any way, don’t answer the door
6. If a caller is threatening in any way call the police immediately

Police have already provided many elderly and vulnerable residents with ‘no trick or treat cards’ which respectfully request that trick or treaters do not knock at the door during Halloween.

The ‘no trick or treat’ cards can be downloaded and printed from or from its facebook page by searching for ‘West Midlands Police’. These luminous cards can be displayed on front windows and doors to advise trick or treaters they are not welcome to knock the door.

Birmingham City Council and local residents can now work more closely together to discuss issues and identify trends in the community through a brand new web tool.

The ‘Birmingham Civic Dashboard’ ( allows residents to see local issues reported to the council –  such as housing repairs and anti-social behaviour – on an online interactive map.

Every day, the application takes live data from the city’s Customer First contact database and shows trends on the map, allowing both the council and residents to identify ‘hotspot’ areas where issues are common or recurring.

In turn residents can comment on the trends that emerge over time, giving an on-the-ground perspective on particular issues.  This is the first time that a UK council has put its service request data online in this way.

The pilot website is part of ‘Make it Local’, a pioneering project run by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).  The Birmingham Civic Dashboard was developed on behalf of the council by Digital Birmingham and digital production company Mudlark, who together make up one of four teams across the country taking part in the programme.

from by geoffc

PATIENTS angry over controversial changes to their GP service have lost their fight after redundancy notices were handed to surgery staff.

People living in Handsworth were outraged they weren’t consulted over a shake-up at St James Medical Centre and set up a campaign group – Keep Our Practice (KOP) to oppose plans.

But despite hundreds of patients raising concerns and staff at the surgery opposing plans, the PCT said the lease, currently handled by national provider The Practice PLC, expires in December and there were no funds to assist with further rent or the refurbishment of new premises.

Its responsibilities are set to be picked up by a partnership of doctors called Vitality, which is also based at the venue.

Redundancy notices have been issued to Practice PLC staff, including nurses and administrators.

Rev Linda Isiorho, from St James’ Vicarage, claimed: “KOP felt hopeful that their beloved medical team could be saved. What we uncovered was a mass of profit-motivated actions that was quite shocking and a disregard by the PCT to follow due process.

“I am dismayed at the lack of transparency in the process and the cavalier disregard for the proper measures of consultation that should have been in place before final decisions were made.”

Hundreds of patients turned up to voice their concerns and frustrations at previous meetings. During one heated debate, health chiefs apologised after complaints about a lack of consultation by the Trust.

Rev Isiorho said, although KOP had been disbanded, patients were continuing to seek legal action.

“The campaign is over but the consequences will continue,” she added.

Read More

England and Wales Cricket Board, Rounders England and Birmingham City Council are working in partnership to provide communities access to free activities in parks and open spaces.

FREE access to cricket and rounders equipment is now available at a variety of parks and open spaces across Birmingham.

If you live in the vicinity of Handsworth, cricket  and rounders equipment can be borrowed for FREE for up to one hour. Equipment can be borrowed by anyone aged 16 or over using a valid leisure card as a deposit.  Some sites may also require a fully refundable cash deposit.

Collect at Handsworth Leisure Centre, Holly Road, Handsworth, B20 2BY         Tel: 0121 464 6336

for use in Handsworth Park