Local Ladies Gym Makes Fitness Fun

Taking that first step to go a gym can be a daunting task, but Gymophobics in Aldridge has come up with a unique way to make its female members feel welcome, get fit and achieve their goals of a healthier lifestyle.

ladies only gym walsall

Opened since 2016, this ladies’ gym in Walsall is unlike traditional gyms, offering uniquely tailored programs for women to improve their health and well-being in a friendly setting.

Owned and managed by Louise, Gymophobics Aldridge has already helped many local women lose weight or tone up – thanks to its personalised fitness plans, motivational instructors and support of other members – since its doors opened in 2016.

staff at gymophobics

Speaking with Pioneer Magazines, Louise told us that: “The whole idea of Gymophobics is to provide a friendly space for women who want to get into shape, where there is a support network of members and a non-judgemental atmosphere. We all really support each other and encourage each other to keep going”.

Ladies Only Gym in Walsall provides a personal touch

One of the unique features of Gymophobics is the exercise circuit that was designed by women for women, with 10 stations consisting of AIR powered machines designed to work on each area of your body.

Each member has a personal programme designed specifically for them to get the most out of their Gymophobics experience with manageable 30-minute sessions that help tone muscles, help with weight loss and improve your cardio vascular system.

aldridge gymophobics

Support is always at hand at local ladies’ gym, Gymophobics

Whatever your fitness goals are, Louise and the friendly team at Aldridge Gymophobics offer a personalised VIP experience aimed at women aged 14-80+ in a relaxed, non-judgemental setting with no TV screens or music blaring out.

This local inch and weight loss centre has also recently introduced a brand-new, non-surgical liposuction treatment to help reduce those areas of unwanted fat. Read on to find out how you can win three free sessions!

Gymophobics Aldridge – Win Liposuction sessions

Pioneer Magazines has teamed up with Gymophobics Aldridge to give away three sessions using the latest ultrasound liposuction slimming machine, the Cavislim-YS70. This non-invasive, safe and effective treatment allows you to decide which part of the body you’d like to concentrate on and burn away the fat.

To be in with a chance of winning this treatment:

  • Join Gymophobics between June 1-13 and visit the gym in Aldridge for your introduction session.
  • 1 lucky winner will be drawn at random on June 14 and receive three sessions (valued at £99) using the Cavislim-YS70
  • 1 runner-up will receive one taster session using the Cavislim-YS40.

Winners will be announced on Pioneer Magazines Facebook page, or by refreshing this webpage.

walsall lose weight advert

If you’re looking for a healthier lifestyle, find out more about Gymophobics in Aldridge by visiting the website, dropping by the Gymphobics Aldridge Facebook page, or giving the team a call on: 01922 278700. You can also drop into the gym, located at 1 Rookery Lane, Aldridge, Walsall, WS9 8NN.

Terms and conditions

  • To qualify for a prize draw ticket, entrants must join Gymophobics and attend an introduction session between the period of June 1-13, 2021.
  • One winner and one runner up will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries on June 14 and announced via this webpage and Facebook.
  • Winner prize: 3 x ultrasounds liposuction sessions. Runner-up prize: 1 x liposuction session.
  • The prize cannot be swapped or exchanged for cash or an alternative prize.
  • Pioneer Magazines reserves the right to redraw the prize should the winner not respond within 7 days of being contacted.
  • This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or any other parties.

Related pages

Walsall Listed Buildings Quiz

Take the test to find out how much you know about some of buildings that have stood proudly in Walsall for centuries.

These 10 listed buildings in Walsall are considered by the council to have local historical and architectural value.

How many of these buildings can you identify?

Click on “Take Quiz” to start!

Local Harry Potter Inspired Café Adds Magical Touch

A Wednesbury couple have opened a Harry Potter inspired café in the heart of Wednesbury in the West Midlands.

wednesbury harry potter cafe

Harry Potter fans Jennie Bentley and Ashley Hodgkins opened Junction 9 ¾ on April 2 for takeaways and are now  welcoming customers inside.

The design of the exterior and interior of the café is inspired by J.K. Rowling’s books and the Harry Potter Warner Bros. films with floating candles, wizarding artwork and other touches designed to give mere muggles a magical treat.

inside harry potter cafe

Since opening for takeaway and collections, the couple have been inundated with orders for their cake boxes. Alongside coffees, teas and milkshakes, customers can enjoy the likes of a Jammie Dodger Blondie and white chocolate and raspberry slices!

cake boxes

The owners of the wizarding-themed coffee shop are planning their grand opening event on 22 May, featuring a live magician and a Ford Anglia that looks just like Arthur Weasley’s flying car.

ford anglia

Tickets for the opening event are sold out with half of the proceeds going to local charity, Owl Experience Rescue Sanctuary, though they’ll be plenty of other opportunities to sit inside and sample the cakes!

Junction 9 ¾ is located just by Junction 9 of the M6 at 3 Spring Head, Wednesbury, WS10 9AD. Booking a table is highly recommended.

Visit Junction 9 ¾ on Facebook for more information.

Long-Lost Stone Epitaph Uncovered At Great Barr Hall

An epitaph to a dear-departed horse has been moved to the graveside of Lady Mildred Anne Bateman-Scott, the former lady of Great Barr Hall, after it was found by an intrepid urban explorer.

Kevin Phillips, a writer, uncovered the two feet high stone, which is one foot thick at the base, outside the derelict chapel at the old Great Barr Hall, after building upon the research of fellow paranormal investigator Toby Langford.

Kevin, who lives in Handsworth, was contacted by Toby after he had posted a video on YouTube of him exploring the ruins of the long-abandoned 18th century hall, which was built by Joseph Scott.

The nine-bay mansion, which replaced Nether House that was built by his ancestor, Richard Scott, in the mid 17th century, was extended about 1840 and later in 1863, and an adjacent chapel, which was never consecrated, was erected.

Epitaph To A Horse Found Near Great Barr Hall Chapel

After a couple of weeks of searching and painstakingly shifting the thick brambles and rubble, Kevin uncovered the heavy stone slab by one of the chapel walls. He and Toby quickly confirmed that it was the lost epitaph to The Bounder, a horse that had belonged to Lady Mildred’s son, Sir Arthur Bateman-Scott, who died March 1884, aged just 23.

Although worn, the epitaph clearly reads:

Favourite Mare of

The Late

Sir Arthur Scott

The Bounder

Died OCT 22, 1908


It was a eureka moment for the 40-year-old writer, who worked with the landowner to ensure the stone was safely removed to Lady Mildred’s grave at the nearby St Margaret’s Church.

great barr hall horse

“What is particularly touching is that Sir Arthur died in 1884 and his horse died in 1908, yet Lady Scott makes a dedication to his horse,” he said. “This horse was her last sentimental link to her much-loved son, whom she loved so much she had his image placed in the stained glass window of the church.”

Lady Mildred died in 1909.

When the stone was moved, Kevin and Toby discovered that the sides were ornately carved to look like tree trunks with chopped branch knots.

On the rear side of the stone was another engraving, “Died Jan 20 1899” and there was a name above. It is likely to have been a stone mason’s mistake, and the stone was turned over and used for the epitaph of The Bounder.

“The stone tapers to the top, leaving a heavy set base. So much of it stands free, although it was meant to be sunk into the ground originally because the writing seems wasted on such a big stone,” said Kevin. “But it means it was designed and probably stood up when Lady Scott had it placed.”

lady scott

Great Barr Hall Search Continues

Now, Kevin, who is also a YouTube paranormal investigator, is determined the find three further commemorative stones etched with poems that Lady Mildred had made for the family pets, believed to be a bird, a dog and a horse.

These are believed to have been stolen from the grounds when St Margaret’s Hospital, which was on the estate from 1918 until it closed down in the 1990s.

Although little is known about two of the stones, a surviving photograph reveals the dog poem reads:

Farewell dear Billy, never more

That cheeky bark I hear;

O’er thy little grave I pour

My grief with many a tear;

And yet thou’re happy in thy rest,

And from all troubles free;

My long bright life was surely blessed

So good you were to me.


DIED APRIL 24, 1886

M.A.B.S is Mildred Anne Bateman-Scott.

5 Effective Ways To Advertise Your Business In Walsall

There are many effective ways to advertise your business in Walsall.

business marketing strategy

Whether you’re a new or existing company plying your trade locally, check out these five ways to get the word out about your services to the community.

Set Up a Google My Business Account

The first thing you should do when your business is up and running is to set up a free Google My Business account.

This will take you a matter of minutes to complete and ensures you are visible on Google Search and Google maps when people are searching for Walsall businesses.

All you need to get started is a Gmail account and details about your company, as well as a logo or a photo to make your profile look appealing.

Once set up, your profile will appear on the right-hand side of the page on Google search and really stand out. Customers will also now be able to leave you reviews, giving you a star rating out of 5.

Each time you have a satisfied customer ask them to leave a review on Google. There’s nothing more appealing to a potential customer searching for local businesses to see a company with lots of 5-star reviews!

google business profile
How your Google Business profile could look.

If you ever get a negative review, you can respond within the Google My Business dashboard.

Always make sure you do this to build up trust. People do read these Google reviews and will look at both positive and negative responses, so it’s important to respond in the appropriate way to any negativity so you do not put off potential customers.

What to know more? Check out our guide on How to Create A Google My Business Account and Profile Page.

Create a Facebook Business Page

Social media is crucial for your marketing strategy and is another free way of advertising your Walsall business directly to the community.

Sign in with your personal Facebook account and go to the create page section. Choose business or brand and enter your business information, including which category your business fits into.

Make sure you add profile and cover pictures to create a good first impression and choose a username. Make sure the username is the same as your business or as close as you can get.

Ensure you add a location, which will ensure that potential customers and clients can see where you’re based, and make sure your description of your company explains exactly what you offer.

pioneer magazines facebook
Pioneer Magazines Facebook page.

Immediately invite everyone on your friend’s list to get things started and create your first post.  Understand who your customer is and create regular, engaging content that they will like, share and comment on.

Find other pages on Facebook that are relevant to your company. For example, a local business community or a local Walsall community group, such as Walsall Chit Chat & Natter. You’ll often find opportunities to interact and post within these channels to inform the community of your services.

For example, if you’re a plumber, keep an eye out on local community groups for people looking for recommendations for a plumber. This gives you the ideal chance to respond and generate some business.

Post regular content and share other interesting content to engage with your audience and grow your Facebook page.

If you have a website or Google My Business profile, make sure you link to your Facebook page from it, so people know you are on social media.

Investigate running a Facebook ad. The targeting options are incredible, allowing you to drill down to a specific area of your locality and target people who are interested in certain subjects. Online advertising doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and Facebook ads are very reasonably priced.

Set Up A Website

Setting up a website to advertise your business in Walsall can be a daunting task, but there’s plenty of help out there. If you have the budget, hire a website company to set it up for you. You can discuss your vision with them and they’ll create a website to suit your needs.

Alternatively, there are many out-of-the-box solutions with website templates that you simply just have to fill in and require little knowledge of website building.

WordPress is a great option with an easy-to-use interface and dozens of tutorials on the web to help you get started.

A WordPress website.

Feeling brave or have the skills? Give it a go yourself. Your website will be one of the most important parts of your business so it’s crucial you are involved in every step of the process.

So, take your time and create your vision offline on how you want it to look and what information you want to include.

Think about the journey you want visitors to have when arriving at your business website, and make sure you read up on search engine optimisation (SEO) to give your website as much chance as possible to rank highly on search engines.

Magazine Advertising in Walsall

Though the advertising space has evolved greatly over the last decade, with online advertising in Walsall and social media promotion becoming a cheap way to reach customers, there’s still huge potential to attract business with print magazines.

Magazine advertising complements your online advertising. While the behaviour of online users sees them dipping very quickly in and out of webpages, processing lots of information, magazine readers will often pick up their magazine time and time again.

The shelf life of magazines is much longer than online, so you are essentially reaching a more captive audience.

magazine advertising
A local community magazine for Walsall residents.

While many print publications have struggled to survive from the rapid advancement in web technology and the change in readers behaviour, some local magazines continue to flourish.

This includes Pioneer Magazines, which was first published 16 years ago has a readership of 120,000 and reaches the 48,000 homes of people in Walsall, Great Barr and other local areas – the exact people you want to be using your business.

This community-focused magazine is full of local stories that readers engage with and around the editorial are promotions from local businesses, with many happy customers advertising in the magazine and enjoying success for many years.

Find out more and see how you can advertise in Pioneer Magazines.

Submit Your Company To Business Listings

There are many places that you can list your business for free online. Simply Google “free business listings” and start the process.

This includes Pioneer Magazines. As part of its recent “Shop Local Campaign”, this local community business set up a free business listings portal. You simply need to send an email and your company will be submitted, allowing customers to find your services via search engines or directly by its devoted online readers.

walsall business listings
Walsall business directory.

If you don’t have the time or the budget to create a website, you can set up a business page on the Pioneer Magazines website. This acts as landing page for potential customers searching for local services via Google and other search engines.

Creating an engaging page in the business directory is an affordable option that can help elevate your business.

Support Local Causes

Become a real part of the community and spread the positivity. Many local businesses support charities and aren’t shy about letting the community know via social media and blog posts.

This brings your business closer to the community. For example, you could choose a particular day when some of your proceeds will be given to a local charity; if you’re a food business you could deliver food parcels to those who need it; or perhaps you could invite buyers to make a donation when making a purchase.

charity donation from business
Walsall business, Westwoods Kitchen holds a raffle for charity.

Creating a positive image of your company and brand that people can trust is a great way to spread word-of-mouth to more customers.

If you’d like help promoting your business to an engaged audience in Walsall, Great Barr and the surrounding areas, get in touch with Pioneer Magazines.

Walsall Council Launches ‘Go the Distance’ campaign

The A*STARS Road safety team from Walsall Council have revealed plans for a ‘Go the distance’ campaign, which encourages pupils and parents to walk to school.

child walking

Walk to School week, which takes place between 17-21 May, will be promoted in primary and secondary schools this week.

Primary schools will have wall charts detailing the progress of students as they aim to encourage as many pupils as possible to walk, cycle or scoot to school. The campaign will also be promoted in local secondary schools.

Walsall Schools Action Plan

At the end of each year A*STARS schools will be awarded a level according to their achievements and the percentage of pupils using active travel. Participating in Walk to School Week will enable Walsall schools to meet core elements on their action plan, helping towards their overall rating.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader an Portfolio Holder for Regeneration said:

“I encourage all Walsall children and families to take part in Walk to School week. Every pupil will be given the challenge to travel sustainably into school. They can choose to walk, scoot, cycle or travel by wheelchair or mobility scooter meaning that everyone can participate.

“I know some parents drive their children to school but they can still take part. Parking a little further away and walking to school, even if it’s just for five minutes, will help to reduce congestion and air pollution at the school gates and improves road safety.

“Where it is possible to use active and sustainable travel, let’s do so, keeping the traffic off the streets and making Walsall a much safer place.”

Related news

Solstice Walk To Raise Funds For St. Giles Hospice

St. Giles Hospice has announced details of the Solstice Walk, a popular annual event that raises much needed funds for the Walsall charity.

Solstice Walk

Fundraisers Amy and Ellanor Foster prepare for Solstice Walk Your Way

The Solstice walk has been re-branded to “Solstice Walk Your Way” for 2021 with the event being a little different to previous years.

The idea is to raise funds for St. Giles Hospice by walking 5k, followed by a Solstice party to celebrate in your own garden.

Fundraisers are being asked to walk the 5k anyway they like, rather than being part of a large group, which in previous years walked around Lichfield for raise money. Then, to celebrate the achievement, throw a small solstice party with friends, family or people within your bubble.

When you sign up for the Solstice Walk, you get a fundraising pack of goodies, which includes:

  • 5K route maps
  • A lantern to light up at 8pm on 19 June
  • Body glitter and gel
  • Party bunting
  • Cake toppers

Further details can be found on the St. Giles website.

st giles hospice

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “Our Solstice Walk is our largest fundraising event of the year and always has a really magical atmosphere – and we’re hoping to bring some of that spirit back in 2021 now that people can get together in small groups outside.

“We hope that as many people as possible will get together in their ‘bubbles’ to take part and raise some much-needed funds for St Giles Hospice at a time when we have never needed our community more. A lot of people raising a small amount can make a huge difference to the care we’re able to provide in our community, and the Solstice Walk Your Way is a great way to support us with your family or friends.

“After the difficult year St Giles has faced, we need the Solstice Walk more than ever in 2021 and we’re thrilled to be bringing it back. Although we’d all love to get together again for our annual walk through Lichfield we feel that adapting the event is the most responsible thing to do this year in the interest of everyone’s safety and we’d love for hundreds of people from right across our catchment area to join together virtually for an extra-special Solstice Walk this year.

“People who sign up will receive a fabulous fundraising pack full of goodies to really get them in the Solstice Walk spirit. Shimmer on a 5k in your local area, sparkle at your own fundraising party, and shine for St Giles!”

Schools Merger Plan In Major Shake-Up To Education

A wide-ranging public consultation has been launched on proposals to merge Q3 Academies Trust and The Mercian Trust.

queen mary's girl's school

Q3 Academies Trust is currently responsible for governing Q3 Academy in Great Barr, Q3 Academy Langley and Q3 Academy in Tipton.

The Mercian Trust is currently responsible for governing Aldridge School, Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Queen Mary’s High School, Shire Oak Academy, The Ladder School and Walsall Studio School.

All Mercian schools and Q3 Academies are part of the proposed MAT merger which will see them become part of the same family of schools governed by one charitable trust.

In a consultation document on the envisaged merger the Trusts state the ‘ambitious plans’ set out an exciting future for students, staff, and for the school and local communities as a whole.

In its consultation document leaders of the Trusts say they are focused on accelerating the pace of school improvement is important to ensure no students are left behind and this would be facilitated by focusing on its combined resources on shared needs and priorities.

queen mary's grammar school

The Trusts also believe the merger would have great benefits for its staff, including providing better career progression opportunities, creating the right environment for staff to share knowledge, understanding expertise and resources to improve outcome for students, and maintaining and enhancing the schools’ reputation with external stakeholders, including parents, employers and regulatory bodies.

Some of the hoped advantages of the merger include;

  • Creating a broader school curriculum offer, including in post-16 education, that further develops students, preparing them for the world of work.
  • Drive improvement, support and innovation in all the 9 MAT schools.
  • Responding to the teacher recruitment and retention challenge by providing better career opportunities for staff.
  • Grow in size and significance for the benefit of students, staff and the local communities served.

Under the proposed merger the names of each individual schools would remain the same. The MAT (a single charitable trust) would be called The Mercian Trust, but each of the Q3 academies will remain and maintain the Q3 name.

Written by Craig Winyward.

5 Best Free Places For A Picnic Within A 30 minute Drive

Courtesy of Kelly from the Small House Big Trips blog, a one stop review site of great days out in the West Midlands, check out these 5 best free places for a picnic within a 30 minute drive.

RSPB Sandwell Valley, B43 5AG – If you’re looking for a picnic spot where you may just see a parakeet, then this is the place for you. With an array of wildlife and picturesque views, den building area for kids, a herb garden, ponds for pond dipping (you can hire sets from the centre to do this although check before going if they are still able to do this), there are bird spotting shelters and a lovely lake to walk around.

sandwell valley

Perry Hall Park, B42 1RS – The River Tame runs through Perry Hall Park, providing a great platform for pooh sticks. There’s cute little bridges, lots of trees to climb on or walk the plank on, a play park for children and a great big green space to run around. I’m told they have a sensory garden for you to look round too and a bike track, but I missed these on our last visit. Be sure not to have your picnic on goose island (by the car park), where you will find some very hungry geese.

perry hall park

Sutton Park, B74 2YR – Everyone’s favourite for a picnic. Will you park up via Bracebridge gate where you can see the wild ponies and get a drink and lunch from Bracebridge Terrace Kiosk to take away with you, or even Blackroot Bistro? Admire the pools whilst sat having your picnic or will you enter the park via Banners Gate entrance where the children can play on the children’s play area, get an ice cream and have a picnic by one of the nearby streams? There are so many areas to explore in Sutton Park, that it is the perfect place for a picnic. Did you know you can now hire adult bikes from the park too? Located for collection from Banners Gate and Boldmere Gate.

sutton park

The Green Fairy Trail at Heart of The Country, Lichfield – With Free Parking and Free Entry, the woods of the Fairy Trail are the perfect picnic spot for those with little ones. Picnic tables are available within the trail, or you could bring a picnic blanket to sit on the grass on the side of the car park. Fairy doors and little town fairy scenes, Worry Remover, mud kitchen and a place for little ones to bring their dummy to leave and say goodbye to it. This is a magical experience for children. You might even get to see the two pigs that live on the trail.

green fairy trail

Middleton Lakes RSPB, B78 2AE – A 160 Hectares Nature Reserve nestled in the beautiful Tame Valley on the edge of Tamworth. Perfect for not only seeing fields of bluebells but also the array of wildlife. I’m told they even have otters in the water, although haven’t spotted them myself yet. There are stepping stones, bridges, benches and different areas to explore. A lovely trip out, that you could combine with a visit to Middleton Hall or Coppice Garden Centre if you wanted a longer day out.

sandwell valley

For more ideas of days out and places to visit, please do come and give us a follow over on our social media channels:

Instagram: @smallhousebigtrips

Facebook: @smallhousebigtrips1

Twitter: @mummytrips

Related news

5 Tips To Improve Mental Health And Well-Being

Running from 10-16 May, Mental Health Awareness week 2021 aims to spread understanding of the issues that can affect our well-being, as well as make sufferers aware that there is help and support available.

One of the many people who support and help our local community overcome such issues is trained counsellor, Shena Letford from Bridgwalk Counselling.

Based at the Soul to Sole Holistic Therapy Centre on the Kingstanding Road in Birmingham, Shena was more than happy to send us across some great tips to help improve mental health and well-being, so we can try and remain positive and get the most out of life.

Tips To Improve Mental Health

1. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental health and wellbeing. This helps you build a sense of belonging and self-worth and share positive experiences, supporting you with your emotions.

2. Be physically active

It’s great for your physical health and fitness! There is plenty of evidence that physical exercise is good for the whole body, mind and spirit.

3. Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills, techniques and interventions helps us greatly. This can boost self-confidence and raise self-esteem, helping you build a sense of purpose and connecting with others.

4. Give to others

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your overall mental well-being by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving more of a sense of self-worth.

You can create a place of gratitude for yourself by helping others, by actively listening, supporting and attending to your friends, giving some of your time to your family, or just visiting someone who is isolated – like an elderly neighbour. Even assisting or doing some handy work for someone needing help can improve your own well-being.

5. Mindfulness

The ‘here and now’ can help your thoughts and feelings, body and how you view the world around you. Consequently, this can help you enjoy life more. This is called an ‘awareness’, bringing about a positive change in the way we view life and how we engage in challenges.

To find out more about how Bridgwalk Counselling can help, check out the official website for a list of its local counselling services.

Local Mental Health Support Groups

Alternatively, reach out to one of your local support groups.