Faye Lambert, London Midland’s head of community rail, said:
“A huge thank you to the station adopters and Big Local for adding such value to their local station and community. Their work is a real inspiration and this prestigious award shortlisting recognises how strong partnerships such as this one at Coseley with the adopters, Big Local and Network Rail create stations that are true assets to the community.”
We are delighted to see national recognition for such a wonderful project and the people behind it. The volunteers have worked hard to share ideas, collaborate and maintain such a lovely public space in Coseley.
Have you been inspired by this story? It’s always lovely to hear your thoughts on East Coseley Big Local projects. The Big Local team would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
A NEW INCENTIVE has been launched in Dudley as part of a scheme to encourage residents to start saving and make them aware of the dangers of using loan sharks.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) have teamed up with Castle & Crystal Credit Union to promote saving and make residents aware of the safe ways to borrow money.
A joint initiative will see the team use proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted loan sharks, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
The first 50 people to join Castle & Crystal Credit Union and save a minimum of £10 per month for the first three months, will be awarded a £25 savings boost directly into their credit union account.
This new incentive will encourage residents to build up savings for a rainy day and will prevent more people from having to turn to a loan shark to borrow emergency cash.
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“We are pleased to be working with Castle & Crystal Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks cash being put to good use, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
“Loan sharks can have a horrific impact on our communities and should never be used under any circumstances. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, the team are here to help on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Loan sharks often target low-income and desperate families; preying on struggling individuals and exploiting them for personal financial gain.
An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge exorbitant rates of interest to trap people into a spiral of debt.
Dharminder Dhaliwal, Business & Finance Manager at Castle & Crystal Credit Union, said:
“People in Dudley, Coseley and Brierley Hill will greatly benefit from this scheme, as this will help them to establish a healthy savings pattern, as well as benefit from the many credit union services we offer to our members.
“We’re really pleased to have the support of the England Illegal Money Lending Team and are committed to ensuring people in need have an alternative to loan sharks and illegal lenders in their local community.”
For more information on how to become a member of Castle & Crystal Credit Union, call 01384 815771 or pop in to branch to speak to an advisor at 25 New Street, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 1LT. Alternatively, please visit the website at www.castleandcrystal.co.ukfor details on how to join the credit union.
This incentive is only available to residents living in the Coseley, Dudley and Brierley Hill areas.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 378 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 325 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
Great news! Bayer Street Allotments have received £250 of Big Local Community Spirit funding. The funds provided by East Coseley Big Local will be used to purchase flowers, bulbs and shrubs to plant in the northbound embankment and window boxes of Coseley Station.
On a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, I visited Bayer Street Allotments, a beautiful remote haven tucked away between the Coseley canal and railway station. On my arrival I was greeted by gardening project masterminds, Tom Blackham and Kerry Williamson, members of the Bayer Street Allotment Association, who were only too happy to tell me the story behind their pretty marvellous growing project…
The story began when East Coseley Big Local and a group of green-fingered volunteers from the allotments decided to get their heads together to talk about improving public and green spaces in Coseley.
After the success of their ‘Flush and Grow’ project, the installation of an eco-toilet and development of an outdoor communal area, conversations started around how they could take their growing skills out of their usual base at the allotments and on to the streets of Coseley.
With the support of East Coseley Big Local, it wasn’t long before they were talking with London Midland about how they could improve the Northbound embankment at Coseley station.
The £250 of Community Spirit funding has been partly used to source flowers and shrubs from local shop, Bramford Hardware, including Marigolds, Broom and Flox which have been planted on the embankment and also in specially made fixed window boxes at the station.
Of course, the work isn’t all about planting, the embankment also requires regular maintenance every 3 weeks to get rid of any unsightly weeds! This meant that they would need regular access to the station.
The allotments association have now joined a new scheme set up by London Midland. The ‘adopt a station’ scheme will allow the volunteers to have better access to the station and improve ties with the railway authorities.
Tom and Kerry told me, “We have built a great trusting relationship with London Midland because we pay attention to the station’s safety rules, and we always tidy up after ourselves.”
It was really lovely to see a new plaque on the northbound platform erected by London Midland to recognise the voluntary work carried out in recent years to maintain the flower bed.
“We look at our station and feel a real sense of pride and achievement.”
Volunteers from Bayer Street Allotments can rest assured that the beautiful array of colourful flowers and shrubs planted at the station have not gone unnoticed and brought many a smile to local people and commuters on their way to work.
And it doesn’t stop there, recently, members of the Big Local Core Group were invited over to Longbridge station to advise others about embarking on a new growing project!
As I left the allotments, I asked Tom if he could give any words of wisdom for others who may be interested in doing a growing project, he responded quite simply
“Get fit, get healthy and get gardening!”
I think that’s a pretty good motto to remember.
Big Local support, London Midland representative, local hardware shop, flowers, shrubs, trowel, volunteers (with a spoonful of passion, enthusiasm!) and of course, the very fashionable, high-vis jackets!
Share Fest is an exciting opportunity for people to create and connect over 50 opportunities to share through practical, enjoyable activities across the whole of Dudley borough. It builds on the success of Do Fest Dudley, a 3 day festival of practical projects in March which 72 people helped to create and over 200 people took part in. Do Fest Dudley featured Lightning Talks about East Coseley Big Local and Bayer Street Allotments, and Coseley Crafternoon took their weekly session to Dudley and inspired another Crafternoon to start.
Share Fest will take place over 10 days, from Friday 9 June to Sunday 18 June. Projects which invite people to share skills, food, spaces, ideas and more are being planned. Over 30 people are already involved in co-designing Share Fest activities, and you are invited to get involved.
Share Fest co-design
Come along to a Share Fest co-design session with East Coseley Big Local on Saturday 20 May or Thursday 25 May at Coseley Library to find out more. Find out more and register places on Eventbrite.
5 ideas for Share Fest activities in Coseley
1. Teach a Trade School class during Share Fest. Last summer we launched Trade School Coseley with a range of classes from making marmalade and scones, to hairdressing, to creating funky upcycled flower pots to Latin dance. What skill or talent could you share with your neighbours?
2. Start a Garden for Everyone. June is a great time to start growing herbs, salad leaves, radishes, peas, carrots, courgettes, kale and more from seed outdoors. You’ve probably seen the fantastic flowers growing at Coseley station and the daffodils spreading around the area. We can take inspiration from Incredible Edible and add vegetable and fruit growing in Coseley.
3. Pop along to Crafternoon in Coseley at Jack Newell Court, it’s 12pm-3pm on Tuesdays. Crafters bring their own projects, share and learn skills, swap tips and get inspiration from each other.
4. Organise a Big Lunch with your neighbours or colleagues. You can get a free Big Lunch starter pack from the Eden Project. If you’re already planning to get your neighbours or colleagues sharing food at a Big Lunch let us know if you want it to be part of Share Fest.
5. What else could you share? Come along to a Share Fest co-design session this month to be inspired by imaginative projects invented by local people around the world and get support to start something during Share Fest.
3 Share Fest projects you can take part in
1. Create a piece of art around the theme of sharing to bring to Creative Connect on Friday 9 June.
2. Offer your sewing, soldering or sawing skills at the launch of Dudley’s Repair Cafe on Saturday 10 June.
3. Pitch a project or support projects at Dudley SOUP on Thursday 15 June.
Do Fest video
To get a taste of what this is al about take a look at the video from Do Fest, featuring the Coseley Crafternoon crew!
Over the last 3 years East Coseley Big Local has started or supported over 30 projects which help make Coseley an even better place to live. From involving residents canal improvement work and flower planting at Coseley station, to investing in projects working with children and young people, to writing and delivering The Grapevine to over 4,000 households… Big Local has got off to a great start in Coseley.
The residents leading Big Local in East Coseley are now making a plan for the next 3 years. They would like to hear from at least 500 people of all ages in the area to help them shape the plan.
Big Local is about making a lasting and positive difference by bringing together the talent, ambitions, skills and energy of individuals, groups and organisations. Our Big Local Plan starts with what we already have and seeks to build on that. Contribute to the plan by telling us what is important to you and the people you care about.
Nothing beats getting together to share ideas, encourage each other and find out what’s going on. For the last four years we’ve been connecting people and great ideas in Coseley through Big Local Community Forum meetings.
Our next Community Forum will take place on Monday 14 November at Willowfields on Whitehouse Street. It is open to all – if you live, work or volunteer in Coseley, or would like to know more about Big Local please come along. There is no need to book, just turn up. It’s an informal gathering, with lots of time to chat to people. You can expect a warm, friendly welcome, a few short talks about projects and activities East Coseley Big Local is supporting and a chance to talk about what you’d like more of in Coseley.
At this Community Forum we will hear from Phase Trust, a local charity who have been running a Youth Club in Coseley. We’ll also hear feedback from conversations between young people in Coseley and creative youth engagement agency Beatfreeks, and ideas about how we might unlock the potential of young people in Coseley. You can find out about community activities and projects East Coseley Big Local has been supporting, from Crafternoon to Trade School Coseley, a new dance company to community growing. Castle & Crystal credit union will be with us all evening, you can have a chat to them about what they offer, and how they helped Coseley residents save £28,000 in loan interest in a year! We’re also starting to think about ways that Big Local could help to tackle isolation and loneliness in Coseley. We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences.
In December we’ll be updating our Big Local Plan and preparing our budget for Big Local activity for the next 3 years (we have £1 million Big Local funding over 10 years). What we hear and discuss at Big Local Community Forums play a significant part in shaping our Big Local Plan. Join us on 14 November to find out more and tell us what is important to you and the people you care about.
We’ve started bringing people in Coseley together through activities which involve sharing. At the first of three summer Bring & Share meals Donna and Neil invited people to bring food to share for lunch, and memories and photos of living in Coseley.
There was a lovely lunch of sandwiches and crisps bought by people to share, and a delicious homemade banana and honey cake made by local resident Diane.
Yvonne brought along photos of Coseley Carnival from the 1920’s taken by her husband who was a photographer. These brought back memories, sparked conversations and inspired the concept of having a Coseley carnival in 2017.
Andrea brought some maps of Coseley from as far back as the 17th Century. Everyone found it fascinating to see how the landscape had changed. Andrea is interested in finding out more about the street she lived in as a child. Diane was soon on the case asking members of the Coseley pre 1970 Facebook group if anyone had any information. We love ways that sharing in Coseley has been started by local people using online spaces like Facebook, and how active groups like the Coseley pre-1070 are.
The afternoon flew by, everyone tided up together, there was even food to take home! Ideas shared during great conversation over a simple shared lunch ranged from starting a new carnival, to generating a friends of group at the local cemetery, to the start of a new Coseley operatic group or choir. Let us know if you’d like to get involved in any of these things, or if you have ideas you would like help getting started. East Coseley Big Local is here to help things happen.
To make our first Big Local Plan we spent many months asking people for their ideas of what would make Coseley an even better place to live and work. We heard over 100 great ideas. We wrote our plan to support local people to bring those ideas to life. Having the ideas has really made a difference. Lots of projects, partnerships and activities have sprung up in Coseley to take those ideas forwards. They include the annual Big Event, improvements to the canalside, all sorts of activities for children and families, growing projects all over Coseley and more.
We are starting to think about our next Big Local Plan, which will describe ways people and projects will be supported in East Coseley between 2017 and 2020. We’ll be taking a look at the ideas people had in 2012 and 2013. We know about some ideas that people in other places have had and turned into amazing projects. We’d love to show them to you. We’ll be taking a look at the ideas people in Coseley had in 2012 and 2013. We want to add more ideas. Your ideas. And let all the ideas mingle. When we bring lots of small ideas together they add up to something much bigger. (The 4 minute animated talk below is all about bringing little ideas together.)
East Coseley Big Local officers Neil and Donna have come up with some great ideas to make this summer a caring, sharing one in Coseley.
You are warmly invited to join us to share your ideas, share stories, bring and share lunch or supper, enjoy an afternoon of crafts with others, share or learn skills, or explore Coseley with a camera and share your photos. See the calendar below and our home page for details of the activities.
Whether you’re in school or college, working full time or part time, looking for work, looking after kids full time, retired but full of energy – or just want to take part in your community in a new way, we would love to meet you. We’ll be based at the Youth Centre building on Old Meeting Road. You don’t need to book, just come along with something to share, we’ll have the kettle on. Children must bring a grown up!
Tues 26 July | 1pm-4pm | 100 ideas – chat, find out about Big Local projects and share ideas