Balsall Common gets ready for Christmas

This Friday Balsall Common Parish Council and Balsall Common Lions Club will be bringing Santa to the village to switch on our Christmas lights with Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Mike Robinson. A choir from Balsall Common Primary School will be singing.  The fun starts at 3.30 outside Barclays Bank, with the light switch-on at 4pm.

Lions ready for Christmas

Don’t forget to check out the new edition of the Bugle with details of all Santa’s routes around the village in the run up to Christmas.

Our local Marie Curie Fundraising Group will be doing their Christmas collection between 9am and 3pm on Saturday.  Look out for them by the Co-op, One Stop and Tesco.

marie curie christmas

Coming soon

Balsall Common Lions Club still have a few tickets for their Briefcase Blues Brothers Xmas Special on Saturday 10 December at the Heart of England School. Tickets £15.00 (includes Hot Supper).

Balsall Common Comedy Club – Comedy Christmas Cracker at the British Legion

Get your friends and family together and start your Christmas celebrations with a night of great value entertainment on your doorstep!  Friday 16 December

Tickets are available at Angela Jaynes Florist or online.

When Breakfast Meets Soap

Guest article by Sally Dhillon of Career Mums

The early risers at last week’s Balsall Business Club were in for a treat as Emma Heathcote-James, founder of Little Soap Company, told her spellbinding story of shifting from completing her philosophy doctorate at Birmingham University, then building her media career to start producing organic, home-made soap in her Cotwold cottage kitchen.


Inspired by the non-drying, natural soap that her Grandma used, she started making soap from a children’s crafting kit, and after unsuccessful trial and error, bought some soap recipes from a local producer.

Within 6 weeks, she achieved her ambition of selling her bars to her local Waitrose store – amazing given that this was a hobby business for Emma. She has subsequently gone on to grow the business and her organic soap ranges are available through many national chains including Tescos, Sainsburys and Boots.

Emma’s inspirational talk took us through many snapshot moments in which she made significant decisions that have lead to creating today’s hugely successful business. Many of these snapshots were critical times when the business could have easily folded or turned in quite different directions. Emma seeps tenacity, go-getting ambition and courage built on by overcoming each of these milestones. She now employs a small team in her Broadway-based factory, office and shop and she has won many awards for her product range and enterprising skills. This base also houses The Little Soap School which is teaching people how to produce ethical and organic soap products and is having a global reach.

The most striking messages from Emma were:
The importance and influence of her family in creating her business
How she has learned and grown the most when the stakes have been against her.

Along with my business partner, Nishi Mehta, our business has equally been strongly influenced by our family situations – just like Emma’s. I am continually curious as to how and why people get into the professions and jobs that they find themselves in – so it was lovely to hear her story.

As a partner in Career-Mums, we are a local business that helps parents to return to work after a career break and supports employers to make the most of this amazing pool of talent. We run inspirational and confidence-boosting workshops and/or individual sessions for people who want to relaunch their career – perhaps starting their own business, securing a job that fits around family life or retraining for a new career.

If you have a desire to turn a hobby into a business, need the motivation and nudge to try something new or want to explore potential work avenues, we’re here to help you.

The next Balsall Business Club meeting is on Friday 18 November. Find out more and sign up on their website.




Lord Digby Jones to speak at the Balsall Business Club

The Balsall Business Club is delighted to announce Lord Digby Jones as the guest speaker at their April meeting. Currently an active crossbencher in the House of Lords, he served as Director General of the CBI (2000–06) and Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007-08).
The meeting takes place on Friday 15 April at the Royal British Legion on Station Road, Balsall Common. Lord Jones’s talk is about ‘Challenges for UK Businesses in 2016’. This is a ticketed event and we are expecting it to sell out so please make sure you are registered if you would like to attend.
The meeting starts at 7.15am for registration and networking. There will also be time after Lord Jones speaks for more networking.
The Balsall Business Club is a friendly, local networking group for businesses based in or serving the Balsall Common area.  Meetings are usually held on the third Friday of each month.
You can buy tickets via Eventbrite, or for more information about the club please email

Baldly going where no team has gone before

Local woman, Marie Jenks, joins bald team to take on the BBC ‘Eggheads’

On Thursday 17th March 2016 at 6pm, the BBC will air a unique episode of its hit TV series ‘Eggheads’ on BBC2. Aside from the usual nail-biting challenge of an amateur team taking on ‘possibly the greatest quiz team in Britain’, this very special episode will see a team of five completely bald women taking on the challengers in a bid to win the current cash prize.

The team, which includes local woman and former Heart of England pupil Marie Jenks, all suffer from Alopecia, an auto-immune condition which causes partial or total hair loss. They are taking to our screens to raise awareness of the condition, making a huge visual impact along the way. Even better, they have pledged to donate any winnings to National Charity Alopecia UK. Tune in to see if this unique team can beat the Eggheads!

Marie has been bald since 1999 and initially focussed on getting treatments and hiding her condition. With the help of Alopecia UK, she slowly grew in confidence, culminating in her appointment as lead of the Birmingham Support Group early last year. The only thing holding her back was her wig and so she made a decision to ditch it, ‘coming out’ on her 40th birthday. She is now proud to be bald and promoting awareness. She says “Now I feel good about it, but it has taken me a long time to get to a good place”.