Balsall Common Lions Club – At the Heart of the Community

This year’s fireworks display, organised by Balsall Common Lions Club, was fantastic, even by their own high standards. Set to music, with 15 minutes of continuous oohs, ahs, and bangs, the event was enjoyed by around 3000 people.

The event is not just a good night out, but also raises lots of money for charity as part of the Lions Club’s year round fundraising and service work both in the village and further afield.

Lions Bonfire 2015

Lions at Christmas

The next event for your calendar is
Friday 27 November
, when the village Christmas lights will be switched on, join in from 3.30pm outside Barclays Bank. On 12 December the
ever popular Santa’s sleigh
begins his tour of Balsall Common, Berkswell, and parts of Burton Green.

Lions Santa

An awful lot of hard work goes into organising and managing these activities. There are 35 dedicated members of the Balsall Common Lions Club who give up their time to help out. If you’d like to volunteer to help with Santa’s sleigh or any of their other activities please contact Lion Ross Collins on 07813 937921.

Lions Activities

As well as fireworks and Christmas events, the Lions run twice monthly bingo sessions in the Village Hall, offering older people a chance to get out and socialise. Local Lions regularly help out at the SIFA Fireside project serving lunch to homeless people. They also organise and host a range of social evenings, again to raise funds for local causes and bigger campaigns. Last year Balsall Common Lions Club members completed over 4000 hours of service between them, helping many people in the process.

Where the money goes

The Lions welcome applications for help with projects, events, and issues locally. They regularly give money to local organisations and groups for equipment, trips, and also fund First Aid Training for pupils at local schools. Donations have been made to Berkswell Scouts, Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Scanner Appeal, Fisher House (a home away from home for military patients and their families at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) and many more.

Join in

If you’re interested in finding out more or joining the Lions Club talk to Membership Secretary Ross Collins. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month at the British Legion, Station Road, Balsall Common. Or attend their special presentation meeting on 26 January where they will be thanking others that have supported them in their work in 2015. Why not make a New Year’s Resolution to join the Lions and serve your local community. Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation. Becoming a Lions club member gives you the opportunity to volunteer locally, or internationally, make new friends and professional connections, lead projects that make your community a better place to live AND have fun doing it!

Charity Christmas Card Shop

The 2010 Christmas Card Shop!
The 2010 Christmas Card Shop!

The Midland Charities Association Christmas card shop has returned to Balsall Common library for another year. Their annual 7 week run is already well underway and will remain ope until Saturday 12th December 2015.

The shop operates during library opening hours as follows:

Monday & Thursday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 5pm;
Friday 2pm – 5pm;
Saturday 10am – 4pm

The library is closed on Wednesdays & Sundays.

There will be cards from 16 different charities.

If you would like to help in the shop, please contact:

Judith Woodcock 01676 533428
Janice Whittlesey 01676 534407
Pam Brown 01676 532580

Plea to keep elderly resident and dog united

Cinnamon Trust banner graphic

National Charity The Cinnamon Trust is currently seeking volunteer dog walkers to help an elderly Balsall Common resident hang onto their beloved dog. The charity helps care for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets. Their aims include keeping owners and pets together for as long as possible with the help of a national network of volunteers.

If you know any budding volunteer dog walkers that can ease the burden and help keep owner and pet together, please make contact with Sally Collins direct at the Cinnamon Trust on 01736 758707 or email sallycollins@cinnamon.org.uk .

To find out more about wider volunteering opportunities visit the Charity’s website at www.cinnamon.org.uk or drop them an email: volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk

Charity cyclist reaches for the sky

Local resident and keen cyclist Stefan Bird had a very busy summer. Having organised a very successful 1940s themed afternoon and evening in the village in June, he then took part in the Ride London 100 bike ride. All his activities have been in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund, and he’s raised around £1500. Having served in the RAF for six years, it was an easy choice for him to choose which charity to support.

Stefan Bird medal

He really enjoyed doing the ride and completed it in just over six hours, despite having slowed down over the last few miles to support another rider who was struggling with the distance. “The best part was coming round the corner at Trafalgar Square and seeing my family there supporting me” he said.

stefan family

His fundraising won’t stop though, he’s already applied to do next year’s Ride London 100 bike ride, and another social event with music next Spring, again in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

If you’d like to keep in touch with Stefan and find out about next year’s events you can email him on stefanbird.uk@gmail.com

Balsall Common Primary ‘Slips into Slippers’ for Older People’s Day

Balsall Common Primary School recently took part in Slip into Slippers for the second year running. Age UK Solihull is one of their favourite charities, not least because the children love to hear from one of their teachers, Miss Hughes, about her weekly visits to Stan aged 93, as she volunteers as a befriender for Age UK Solihull. Miss Hughes also took part in the Great Birmingham Run in support of the charity on 18 October.

slip into slippers

Lorraine Hart, Fundraising Manager at Age UK Solihull, says, “It was great to see so many schools, staff and local business people take part this year. It’s an easy and fun way to raise money for the charity, but at the same time there’s a serious message about the value of older people in society, both at work and in the home, and a way to recognise all that our parents and grandparents do for us”.

Howard Rose, Funding & Publicity Manager at Balsall Common Primary School said “this is the second year we have supported Age UK Solihull through ‘Slip into Slippers’ and I am pleased to say we have been able to raise even more money this year. The children really enjoy the day and it is a great way to support such a fantastic charity.”

Age UK’s Big Knit campaign is now well underway. If you can knit why not join in, all the information and patterns you need are online at www.thebigknit.co.uk .

If you are interested in fundraising or volunteering for Age UK Solihull, contact 0121 704 3361, email events@ageuksolihull or visit www.ageuksolihull.org.uk .