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.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
With thanks to Louise Nash helping to edit and upload this.
Santa Claus (via Balsall Common Lions Club) is coming to Balsall Common.
From Wednesday 14 December, you can see him in many of the roads around the village and further afield, for his annual charity collection. The sleigh journey raises lots of money for charities and good causes, many of them local.
You can see daily updates about where Santa will be on Facebook.
Here are the full details of Santa’s route:
Wednesday 14 December
Balsall Street from Saracens Head to Needlers End Lane
Fen End – Oakley Estate
Old Waste Lane
Waste Lane (Catchems Corner to Hodgetts Lane)
Thursday 15 December
Kenilworth Road North
Michael Blanning Place
Needlers End Lane (to Greenfield Avenue)
Station Road (to Needlers End Lane)
Wooton Green Lane (part)
Friday 16 December
Copt Oak Close
Cromwell Lane to Westwood Heath Road
Hodgetts Lane (from Village Hall)
Rough Knowles Close
Westwood Heath Road
Saturday 17 December
Kelsey Lane (from Windmill Lane)
Meeting House Lane
Station Road (to Station)
Monday 19 December
Lavender Hall Lane
Cromwell Lane (Westwood Heath Road to Station)
Tuesday 20 December
Cedar Wood Drive
Kelsey Lane (to Meeting House Lane)
Kenilworth Road South
Thursday 22 December
Balsall Street (Station Road to Needlers End Lane)
Needlers End Lane
Station Road (Needlers End Lane to Balsall St)
Friday 23 December
Balsall Street East
Childs Oak Close
Dale Meadow Close
Kemps Green Road
Sear Hills Close
Merry Christmas from Balsall Common Lions Club. Find them on Facebook for all the latest updates.
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.
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.
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.