Monday, 21 May 2012

Building community spirit in Hall Green

Guest Blog by Majid Salim
My name is Majid and I'm a blogger. I live in Hall Green. 
Traditionally the areas of South Birmingham that have been of most interest to bloggers and twitter users are Kings Heath, Moseley and Stirchley. These are areas that have a strong community ethos backed with solid support from local twitter users and hyperlocal bloggers, creating a strong sense of community and place. It is a shame that Hall Green has lagged behind these other areas in not having the same local pride, spirit and ethos, because the area has so much to offer. Not only does it have some amazing green belt spaces and areas of local history that are beautiful, but it was the home of some very famous people, including Tolkein, Tony Hancock and Nigel Mansell. But the real wealth in Hall Green is the inhabitants, many of whom are professionals such as lawyers, stockbrokers and journalists. Going for a walk around Hall Green you really feel the sense of it as an aspirational area for many, especially Asians from Sparkhill who view living in the area as a symbol of having made a success of your life. 

I'd like to make a contribution to the debate about the arts in Hall Green. I think one of the reasons why Hall Green lags behind in the arts as compared to other areas is because there is no real focal point for the area to build a community ethos. Obviously you have Hall Green Parade and Robin Hood Island, but the area is crying out for the equivalent of Kings Heath's Poplar Rd/York Rd, or Moseley's side streets where three or four arts/crafts businesses might prosper and create a sense of place. If only Hall Green had  a nice arts cafe, like Ort in Balsall Heath, or arts hub! It probably wouldn't be used by run of the mill people, but there is a subset of society that I believe many people are members of, who might see the potential of such a development and start utilising it. Believe it or not, I think there are many people in Hall Green who are like this, and who would love their area transformed into something vibrant and living, which reflects their identities. 

 It might be worth trying to promote a venue such as Highfield Hall as a place for bohemian, clued up people to congregate and collaborate, to see if a sense of community can be germinated that way. The other possibility is for business people to see Hall Green an an attractive place to start local community businesses. Either way, an ethos would flourish, and soon Hall Green would become another major focal point for arts activity in South Birmingham.

1 comment:

  1. A couple of other HG venues - Job Marston Centre - which is a children's/community centre attached to a church, and had no idea there was a rather grand Highfield House - Anyone know of other Hall Green venues or arts groups in Hall Green Ward, past or present?