Hi, I’m Leanne and I am working on the Champion4Skills programme based at Birmingham Settlement’s East Birmingham Hub on Kitts Green Road. My day starts catching up with emails and planning for the day ahead. Today, four Champions (three from the B33 Life! project) and another Champion who I am coaching and mentoring in her role as Chair of the local Neighbourhood Forum, are attending two events: the first one is a workshop at Birmingham Settlement’s Aston Hub run by a local PCSO entitled ‘Personal Safety and Crime Prevention’. The second is an event run by the nearby youth centre (The Pump) – a summer event launching their new Caribbean Café.

After organising transport for the Champions and ensuring everyone has their ‘reinstate the 59 bus campaign t-shirts’, and petitions and flyers for upcoming Hub events the B33 Life! the Champions start to arrive. The group don’t all know each other yet, so it’s a great opportunity to talk about the project and to bond as a group whilst travelling to the workshop.

The workshop was excellent. We all learnt so much. The Champions brains were ticking away and they asked so many pertinent questions and took notes. B33 Life! is a blog and social media platforms which will resource and support the communities living around B33. The Champions learnt about the West Midlands Police ‘portal’ where people can report non-urgent crime (instead of calling 101), ask questions and check their postcode for crime statistics. They also learnt how to report cybercrime and how to keep themselves and their homes safe. We all left feeling that a similar event would be beneficial to the Kitts Green community, and resolved to plan, promote and blog about it on B33 Life!

Whilst there, our t-shirts (kindly donated by one of the Champions) attracted the attention of a Community Priest who works in the Shard End and Kingshurst areas – areas the 59 bus used to serve! He took copies of the petition to various places and communities we haven’t yet reached – the power of a t-shirt. We also gained a page of petition signatures at the workshop.

All of a buzz, the Champions next went to The Pump. More serendipity ensued when the Chair of the Neighbourhood Forum met with another community activist who she needed to meet on a business matter. They connected, resolved their business and made further plans to meet. We all learnt more about what each organisation is doing to make the community a better place to live. The B33 Life! Champions were able to introduce the project, build connections, and to even plan more journalism around the bus campaign and how the airport has been affected. I made a plan to meet the activist further around supporting their group to develop a mailing database and to explore whether a peer-support-network for community groups might be beneficial.

My day ended with a debrief session with the Champions, planning arrangements for the next week and setting some tasks in preparation. A couple of follow-up emails concluded the day – planning more exciting work for next week – including meetings with local police officers, community activists and – of course – the Champions4Skills.


  •  If you would like to find out more about our Champions4Skills project and how you can get involved, check out our dedicated East Birmingham page on our website (http://bit.ly/BSEBHP) which is full of useful information about activities taking place at our East Birmingham Hub and contact details for the team. Our Champions4Skills project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.