Artists and historians will be exploring the Tame and the area around, and the individual journeys through Witton and Perry Barr of residents past and present. There will be lots going on, including events, workshops, printed work and exhibitions for the whole community to get involved in.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Community Feedback #2

Artwork on the Wall

The history of the industries was a particular highlight of the ideas for the wall, and many people are interested in the history of the area, though they don’t know much about it.

“History is important, the wall should have something to tell, a story to tell.”

This kind of idea of the wall telling a story can relate to many aspects of Witton. There were also thoughts to relate to the river and the animals, and that the green areas along the river should be remembered or highlighted through the defences.

It is also important to people that the different cultures are represented, and people agree that using patterns would be a good way to do this.

People were very eager for children and the local school to be involved. Someone liked the idea of making handprints or other marks that could be set in the wall, so that in generations to come children and grandchildren can come and see the marks that their ancestors made. I suggested that it could also be quotes or objects.

There will be another community consultation at the Community Centre in September, and I will keep everyone informed. It will be a great opportunity to meet the team working on the design and structure of the flood defences and look at some of the initial designs. There will also be tea and biscuits!

Witton News

I have been talking to people about the idea of re-enlivening the Witton News for the present day and have had really positive feedback (and the first few readers). One person said that it would be a good way ‘to bring different ideas together’. It can also explore the history, the local people and bring a sense of community. Many use local shops so think that it could be provided through these to reach a wider audience.

A Green Corridor

The same concern keeps arising, that the river will be hidden by the wall. Although everyone agrees that the flood defences are necessary (and I met people who were affected by the floods), most people feel that the river could be made more of an asset for the community by opening it up to be used, and many feel very strongly about this. One lady said that if a cycle path was put along the river she would go out and buy bikes for her children as there is nowhere safe for them to cycle at the moment. Another lady feels that the river should not be lost and would walk a lot along the river if it was easier to access, as she is getting older now.

One person said that these kind of green areas are ignored in England, whilst in the Netherlands they are really utilised. They think that it is a shame that using these spaces is not encouraged, and even prohibited in this country, and that being able to walk and cycle along the river would be a real asset to many in the community. The school said that they already have walks to the river, and would really love for it to be properly accessible and could involve it in the education of the children. Outdoor learning is well known to be a great way to educate young people.

Facilities for Children, Teenagers and Adults

The lack of play and activity spaces for children was brought up again, as was the fact that there is little for young people to do at the weekend. One lady mentioned that there was an after-school club at Aston Park for children aged 5 to 12 (information here). Another lady is disappointed that the Sure Start facility is no longer available in the area, along with the courses that were offered. There was a definite idea that young people should be included and most people would like to see Tamed providing workshops on the street areas over the summer holiday. I spoke to a teenager who believed that there should be play areas for both young people and teenagers, and they mentioned the Lighthouse Youth Club in Aston (facebook page here). One resident mentioned that there was a Social Hall nearby, but that it was soon to close down.

A Community Day

Most people I spoke to think that a community event would be a great idea for people to get out and get to know each other a bit more. It was thought that it would be something really positive in the area.


This was the first time that language became a barrier to talking to people, as my lack of Slovakian and Urdu hampered conversations. This is something that is really important to me, and it would be great to include other languages in the Witton News and other publications. If you can help with this, please let me know.  

Any other suggestions and questions, please email

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