Weekend Wind Down Walk – 12 May 2017

The Balsall Common and Berkswell Marie Curie Fundraising Group are holding a charity walk this Friday 12 May. The walk begins and ends at the Bear in Berskwell with a choice of start times between 6pm and 7pm. Their volunteers will guide you along the course.

The event will take you through the Berkswell countryside giving you an opportunity to relax ready for the weekend, enjoy the beautiful scenery and good company.  The approximately 2.5mile walk is suitable for all the family with no difficult inclines. Sturdy footwear is recommended with all welcome, even bring the dog along!

The aim is to provide a relaxing way to raise money and awareness for Marie Curie with any donations funding the West Midlands hospice and West Midlands nursing services.
Why not wear something yellow and turn the Berkswell countryside yellow for Marie Curie?

For more information about the walk please contact John Thomas on 07703 394521 or email the organisers.
For information about their events and activities like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MarieCurieBCB

Racing to the national final

Year 4 pupils at Balsall Common Primary School had a successful day at the schools F1 challenge this week.  Three teams of four took part at Princethorpe School, competing against other local primary schools.

As part of the challenge pupils have to design and build a replica F1 car which is powered by a gas cyclinder along a 100-foot track. The teams also had to source sponsorship for the car, including a very successful Dragons Den pitch at a recent SolihullHour and Best of Solihull event.  They also worked incredibly hard on a presentation for the judges.  The teams are once again supported by Ian Dunning from JLR who gives up his time to share industy insight.

Pupils have been very successful in reaching out to local business for support. Acclaimed Mortgage Consultancy, Solihull College and University Centre, Borroclub, PM Group and Standley & Co Solicitors all attended to support the teams. Other businesses – Wow Signal Communications, TSC Cars, Midshire Business Systems, Sainsburys, Lavender Hall Autos, Ginger Property, Signarama, Sutherpark Groundwork, FLR Flooring, Hogarths Hotel and Solihull Council – have all supported the teams and their participation in the competition.

The teams had a great day, winning best verbal presentation and achieving 2nd place overall were Sonic Speed. This means they will take part in the national final at the Ricoh Arena. Lightning Sparks were also successful and winning the fastest car prize.


Local business gets a boost from Theo Paphitis

A local luxury pet bed maker has received a business boost from Retail Entrepreneur Theo Paphitis. Courtney Savannah, owner of Cosy Chic Pet Boutique, tweeted Theo about her business during ‘Small Business Sunday’ and was one of six weekly winners to gain a retweet by Theo to his 500,000 Twitter followers. The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, now has 1700 #SBS winners and supports small businesses in the UK.

Thanks to Theo’s support, Cosy Chic Pet Boutique has received a sales boost for their luxury, handmade and bespoke dog and cat beds.

Courtney said, “Being hand picked by Theo as a winner after only being in business for 9 months gave me an incredible sense of achievement and recognition for all my hard work and ideas. SBS has been a huge boost to not only my business growth and development but also my personal confidence as a designer and business owner.”

Theo Paphitis, said: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS members every week and highlight just how important it is to support our small businesses here in the UK. The website and Shop #SBS will also give a valuable profile to the winners chosen and I wish Cosy Chic Pet Boutique every success.”

Cosy Chic Pet Boutique is one of two businesses Courtney runs in our area. Her other business, Love Cosy Chic, has a concession in Antiques in a Barn, Old Lodge Farm, Balsall Common.

£25 000 raised and 5 000 hours of service

Those were just two of the amazing achievements recognised by Balsall Common Lions Club last week at their second annual celebration evening. President Dave Blakeman told the audience of the fantastic things the club has achieved recently.

Over the last five years the club has raised a total of £105 000 in our community, including £24 321.95 last year, of which 75% was spent locally.

The Lions don’t just raise money, they also donate many hours of their time – organising Bingo evenings in the Village Hall, serving meals for homeless people at the SIFA Fireside project, bulb planting, and of course ensuring Santa visits Balsall Common and surrounding areas.

Past President Andy Pemberton explained that the 41 members of Balsall Common Lions Club are part of the world’s largest service organisation. There are 1.4 million Lions in 209 countries who all work with their local communities and combine with other charities to work on global projects such as eradicating measles and preventable blindess. It is estimated that every Lion touches the lives of another 70 people annually and Balsall Common Lions Club feel they surpass that estimate, thanks to the help and support they receive locally.

Andy thanked everyone who has donated to disaster relief collections outside the Co-op, attended the Bonfire, said hello to Santa or volunteered their time.

President Dave Blakeman awarded a series of Certificates of Appreciation to local groups and organisations who help the Lions achieve as much as they do. They went to:

  • Berkswell and District Royal British Legion
  • Berkswell and Balsall Common Community Sports Association (and a donation of £1800)
  • Hugh Boulton, Rutrailertrained (and a donation of £100 which he gave to the local Rugby Club)
  • Carl Hemming
  • The Bugle
  • Balsall Common Village Hall (and a cheque for £1 145)
  • Jamieson Christie
  • Angela Jaynes Florist
  • Oakes Farm Shop
  • Tesco Express Balsall Common
  • Heart of England Coop
  • Unity Automotive

Donations totalling £8 000 were given out on the night.

Continue reading “£25 000 raised and 5 000 hours of service”

Help out your community in 2017

Here at Balsallcom.com, we asked clubs and groups in the local area to tell us about their experiences in 2016 and their goals for 2017. Here is what they told us, and how you can help them in 2017.
If you’d like to be added to this article, please email the details to Claire.

The Bugle

The Balsall Common and Berkswell Bugle has grown in paging in each of its eight years and 2016 saw it hit 88 pages. It started on 24.

The paging of the magazine is based solely on the amount of advertising – we work on a 50/50 ratio with editorial space – and there has been a steady increase in advertisers.

In the main this has been achieved without having to resort to cold calling – in fact the rise in advertising in the past couple of years has been down to advertisers coming to us.

Editorially, with the help of our many contributors throughout the villages and beyond, we have been able to cover in depth all the main issues which affect our communities as well as report on life of our residents in general.

In 2017 we will be looking to expand our contributor database and thus our coverage of all that goes on in the area. And we will also building the successful Balsallbugle website.

We do have a magazine problem, of course – 88 pages is well above the maximum target we set ourselves and is a heavy commodity for  Balsall Common Lions to deliver. So, we will be trying to improve the magazine within that 88-page max, and at the same time attempting to keep our regular advertisers happy.

It’s an obstacle with which many would be glad to wrestle, and The Bugle is no exception.

The Lily Mae Foundation


It has been another very busy year for The Lily Mae Foundation. The demands for our support and services from bereaved parents and families has increased yet again.

Amy Jackson, Co-Founder of the Charity, has been employed 2.5 days a week since January to help address these demands and grow The Foundation for the benefit of all bereaved parents and families living locally.

The Foundation has:
* Provided 250 Memory Boxes to local hospitals
* Agreed to supply Memory Boxes to a further three hospitals in the West Midlands.
* Developed and provided Memory Boxes for early baby gestation loss.

* Organised three counselling days with Cruse Bereavement Care, involving 30 bereaved parents.
* Continued to hold our informal monthly support meetings at The White Horse. Currently 15 families attend regularly.
* Organised a Wave of Light Service and our annual Little Shining Lights Service to remember babies born too early, too poorly or sleeping. A total of 178 local families attended these two services.
* Continued to offer support via face to face meetings, phone calls and social media contact.
* Raised a tremendous £145,000 in the year through our Golf Day and Dinner Dance, the Balsall Common Festival Fun Run and through the very many kind donations and fundraising events of our fantastic supporters and volunteers.
* Made a successful application to the UPS International Foundation for a vehicle to be used to transport bereaved parents and families to hospital and to counselling appointments, Memory Boxes to hospitals, equipment to fundraising events and Trustees and staff to meetings and training events.


Due to the ever increasing workload, the Trustees, who are all volunteers, have recently determined  that The Foundation should employ an additional person on a full-time basis in 2017 to help the Charity to continue grow, develop and respond to the varying needs of bereaved parents and families.
Plans are currently in place for:
* Launch of our new website in January.
* Our annual Golf Day and Dinner Dance, to be held at The Belfry again on Friday 21st April.
* A Wedding Party themed Summer Ball, to be held on Saturday 24th June at the National Motorcycle Museum.
* The fourth Balsall Common Fun Run, to be held on Sunday 17th September.
We look forward to working with and to helping all those groups and individuals who are planning to organise a fundraising event for us during the year.

How you can help: The Lily Mae Foundation needs volunteers to deliver letter and leaflets locally, to marshal at the Fun Run and to help us put together our Memory Boxes.

We are in need of a volunteer with Marketing and PR skills who can help us achieve effective sponsorship deals for our Golf Day and Fun Run fundraising events.

We are also always hopeful that residents in Balsall Common will attend the events that we organise each year and share details of these events on Social Media.

* http://www.lilymaefoundation.org/
* Telephone: 01676 535716
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLilyMaeFoundation
* Twitter: @LilyMae_UK
* Instagram: lilymae070210

Balsall Common Festival

The 2016 Balsall Common Festival was a fantastic success with such a variety of activities and events to enable the village to come together and enjoy themselves.  There were local businesses and charities having the opportunity to ‘showcase their wares’, local musicians with a stage to perform on, and lots of other activities, food and drinks to keep all ages occupied.  Nine hours to do different things to normal! The ticket sales were up by 25% this year on last – what an amazing event.  All of the many stalls around the ground were booked up long before the big day and the Festival Committee had a substantial waiting list. Generous support by a large number of local businesses ensured that not only did the festival have adequate funds to go ahead, but also generated a surplus of £8000 for local clubs, groups, charities and other good causes.

The AGM for the Balsall Common Festival Committee will be held at the Berkswell Royal British Legion on Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 7.30pm. This is open to all in the community. If you are interested in getting involved with creating Festival 2017, please get in touch or come along to the AGM when the committee will be formed for 2017. The Festival will not happen without the volunteers to do it, and the old saying, ‘many hands make light work’ certainly will apply. Email BCFSecretary@outlook.com to find out more about helping out in 2017.

Balsall Common Lions Club

2016 was another incredible year for Balsall Common Lions Club. Thanks to everyone who supported us during the year, particularly all those of you who came out to see Santa and his sleigh recently.  2017 will be another busy year for us.

On Monday 23rd January, we will be holding our Annual Presentation Evening at the British Legion Club in Station Road where we will be thanking those organisations that have helped us over the year. Why not come along and see what we do? Tickets and places are free but you do need to reserve a place so please contact Lion Ross Collins on 07813 937921.

By popular demand, Vivo will be with us again on 25th March, and on 20th May, we will be holding another Prostate screening session here in the village. A date to remember.

Talking about 2017, I am very proud to be able to report that Lions Clubs International will be celebrating it’s centenary- 100 years of Lions humanitarian service- and we will be preparing for our second century of service.

The Jubilee Centre

Balsall Common Residents are being asked to rally around a new Management Committee to develop a roadmap for the future of this local community centre after the cessation of the Charity that was formed to fund and manage it.

Read our article about the Jubilee Centre or email balsallsbigidea@gmail.com for information.

With thanks to Louise Nash helping to edit and upload this.