Walsall Schools to take part in National Dental Survey

A National Dental Survey will be taking place in June in all Walsall infant and primary schools that involves all reception and year 1 children.

Parents should soon be receiving a consent form that gives permission for their child to take part in the survey. On the day, a dental nurse and a dentist will check your child’s mouth in order to provide data to the NHS to help improve dental care programmes in the borough.

“Children’s dental health matters and it is important children are as healthy as possible,” said Nadia Inglis, Interim Director of Public Health at Walsall Council. “We encourage parents and carers to involve their children aged 5-years old to be part of the survey by completing and returning the consent form to their school”.

Parents are reminded that the survey does not replace their child’s regular check-up.

Spotlight shines on Streetly micropub

Staff and customers alike are raising a glass or two at the popular Brewhouse Micropub in Streetly after scooping the prestigious award of “West Midlands Pub of the Year” from its local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch.

The Brewhouse team celebrate their success along with members of CAMRA.

The award winner was chosen by Lichfield, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield CAMRA volunteers and featured 23 pubs that were judged on their atmosphere, décor, welcome, service, community focus and the quality of the beer.

On receiving the award, which was presented by Chairman of the local CAMRA branch, George Greenaway, and CAMRA National Executive Director, Gary Timmins, pub manager Andrea McCarthy told Pioneer Magazines: “I was flabbergasted, over the moon! We couldn’t have done it without our fantastic staff and customers.”

Opening in 2018 by landlords Michelle and Colin Stephens, the cosy micropub has gained a reputation among locals for its friendly atmosphere and superb selection of hand-picked real ales, craft ales and gins (they also do a sumptuous Sunday cheese board!).

“We choose beers and other drinks based on what we know our customers like, and always have three quality guest ales on,” said Andrea.

“Some of our best-sellers are an award-winning lager called ABK Hell, a Cornish cider called Rattler, and an Irish Stout called Forged from Conor McGregor’s Porterhouse Brewery.”

Beer Guide Approved

Featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, the Brewhouse also likes to surprise their patrons with novelty beers. Most recently, this included a green beer and the “World’s Strongest Fortified Beer” called Snake Venom, which was available for one night only, boasting an eye-watering 67.5% ABV!

Always keen to create a community vibe, the Brewhouse frequently looks for ways to bring people together and is planning a special evening of “Last Night of the Proms” to celebrate St. George’s Day on 23 April, which will include a rousing rendition of “Land of Hope and Glory”.

“Community is at the heart of the Brewhouse,” said Andrea. “It’s the perfect place to me.”

On presenting the award, CAMRA’s Gary Timmins emphasised the importance of community, stating that: “The Pub of the Year competition is not just a reflection of great beer. It’s great beer, in a great location, with great people. It’s an indication of the strength of a community in the area.”

The Brewhouse can be found on Boundary Road on the Hundred Acre estate, Streetly. It opens Tuesday through Thursday from 5pm to 10.30pm, Friday from 3pm to 10.30pm, Saturday from 12.00pm to 22.30pm, and Sunday from 12pm-9pm.

New sculpture trail celebrates art and nature harmony at Reedswood Park

A new sculpture trail at Reedswood Park designed to represent the harmonious coexistence of art and nature, features artwork that appeared at The New Art Gallery as part of the National Lottery-funded ‘Bee Inspired Walsall’ project.

Credit: Daisy Askins

Commissioned by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, local artist Daisy Askins created a series of sculptures using natural materials that were exhibited at the gallery from July to September 2023. These sculptures are now strategically placed around Reedswood Park, forming a trail where visitors can admire the art and scan QR codes to learn more about bumblebee conservation efforts.

“The aim is to spark an interest in the importance of bumblebees and inspire conversations about our wild friends, the bumblebees”, said Gurinder Atwal, Outreach and Volunteering Manager at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

“Thanks to the players of the National Lottery, this installation will provide a real talking point and encourage communities to champion the UK’s bumblebees by using the QR codes accompanying the artwork to find out more information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

“This milestone wouldn’t be attainable without the unwavering support of Richard McVittie and his team for their assistance in the installation, Daisy Askins for her brilliant artwork, and the invaluable guidance from Zoë Lippett from The New Art Gallery Walsall.”

 

Line-up and date confirmed for Walsall Arboretum’s anniversary celebration

The line-up of acts and the date of this year’s anniversary celebrations at Walsall Arboretum have been confirmed.

Walsall Arboretum

The live music event which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the public park will take place on Saturday 4 May, 2024 between 12pm and 7pm with free entrance.

As well as traditional games and boat rides across the lake, the miniature railway will be up and running for families to enjoy.

Alongside food stalls and bars, there are two stages with live music to entertain the crowds, including an appearance by all-female Slade tribute band, Slady.

Hosted by DJ Dicky Dodd, the following acts have been confirmed:

Main Stage

  • Slady
  • Midnight Crossing
  • Inareko
  • Noise Candy
  • Voices Entwined Choir
  • The West Midlands Concert Band
  • The City of Birmingham Brass Band

Acoustic Stage

  • Aayushi Jain
  • Jessai Dessai
  • Gavin Medza
  • The Clarkes & Co
  • Christopher Crompton
  • Plus many more!

Numerous community groups will also be in attendance, as well as the Glorishears of Brummagem Morris Dancers and special talks with the likes of the Wildlife Management Forum and guided history tours.

Walsall boxing club to be centre of new faith-based BBC film

The Midland Langa Seva Society (MLSS) Boxing Academy in Bloxwich will be in the spotlight this Spring as a new BBC One faith film explores the community boxing club.

Tentatively titled “Sikh Warriors”, the film will highlight the work of the team at MLSS, which is headed by coach “Pops”.

The Community Hub opened in 2021 and features a gym, boxing gym, a music studio, café and studios for classes.

“The aims of the centre are to help people both physically and mentally,” said MLSS CEO Randhir Singh.

“The charity aims to do more than feed the homeless but also to help service users in the long term. The emphasis is wellbeing and tackling mental health issues, especially in this day and age, and building confidence, especially among younger people who are suffering from bullying. We want this to be a place for everyone and somewhere where they can come and enjoy a coffee or play a game and come together as a community.” 

A firm release date for the film has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to be available on BBC One and iPlayer over Easter.

Islamic charity in Walsall under scrutiny for “serious and ongoing concerns”

The Abu Bakr Trust, with its headquarters based on Wednesbury Road in Walsall, is under investigation by the Charity Commission due to “serious and ongoing concerns”.

One of the schools ran by the Abu Bakr organisation

For approximately 20 years, the charity organisation has provided the Muslim community of Walsall with educational opportunities, currently overseeing four independent schools, a mosque, and other educational facilities.

Alongside failure to adhere to filing deadlines for annual returns, the Charity Commission are looking into whether trustees have fulfilled their legal obligations and duties in accordance with charity law.

Via the UK government website, the inquiry will examine:

  • The trustees’ governance and management of the Abu Bakr Trust, including their failure to ensure annual returns are filed on time.
  • The charity’s financial management, including its level of debt.
  • Whether the trustees have properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law.
  • The extent of misconduct and/or mismanagement within the administration of the charity by its current and former trustees.

Walsall Arboretum becomes a recognised Ancient Tree Site

On the year of its 150th anniversary, the Walsall Arboretum and country park has been officially designated as an Ancient Tree Site, the first of its kind in the West Midlands.

Walsall Arboretum

The accolade was issued by the Woodland Trust based on the huge number of ancient and veteran trees. While the area boasts approximately 130 veteran trees, 17 of them are considered ancient, between 150 and 800 years old.

“This designation is timely as the Arboretum celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2024,” said Gary Flint, Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing, Leisure and Public Spaces at Walsall Council

“It is wonderful news for Walsall and its wildlife. This designation places the Arboretum in the same company as Chatsworth, Richmond Park and Windsor Great Park. We thank the Woodland Trust for recognising the quality and importance of our premier green space, but also want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of local resident and Woodland Trust volunteer Mike Glasson, who has tirelessly surveyed the trees in the park over a number of years. “

Walsall Council plans to celebrate the Arboretum’s 150th anniversary in style with events taking place across the May bank holiday weekend.

 

Triathlon England teams up with Walsall Council for new health and wellbeing plan

Triathlon England has teamed up with Walsall Council to deliver a new plan aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.

The focal point of the collaboration is Birchills, which has been earmarked as one of 17 priority zones under Triathlon England’s initiative, ‘The Big Active’. Plans will now be laid out to help the Birchills community get more active through the likes of walking, swimming and cycling.

“It’s great to work closely with Walsall Council to support local people to get active and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Helen Marney, Director of Development, British Triathlon.

“The council has recently created more active travel routes and we’re looking forward to helping people make the most of them as well as taking advantage of the fantastic green spaces and leisure centres available to them. “

The partnership follows work by Walsall Council with the Canal and River Trust to make travel routes around the borough more accessible. This includes improving tow paths in Bloxwich and Willenhall to create more efficient cycle routes.

 

 

Two Bloxwich teens arrested as Rambo-style knife uncovered

Two teenage boys have been arrested in Bloxwich following an incident in Lister Close just after 7pm last night (Monday).

A 15-year-old and 14-year-old boy were arrested following the incident where threats were made to other teenagers. Subsequent searches uncovered a large Rambo-style knife, two flick knives, and a knuckle duster.

Both culprits are still being detained by West Midlands police with allegations of making threats with a blade in a public space.

Simon Watkins, from the Homicide Reduction Team at Walsall Local Policing Area (LPA), which looks at reducing serious youth violence for the under 25s, said: “Officers reacted quickly to make the arrests and bring two young people into custody.

“A number of weapons have been taken off the streets of Walsall. Under 25 serious youth violence and robbery are two of Walsall LPA local priorities. 

“Witnesses or anyone with any information about this incident can contact us on Live Chat via our website or by calling 101 quoting crime reference number 20/271222/24.”

Walsall Council Enforces Public Ban on Council Meetings Following Pro-Palestine Protest

Walsall Council has announced a ban on public attendance at its council meetings, following a recent Pro-Palestine protest at a full council meeting last week.

walsall council office
Walsall Council House

The council’s decision came in the wake of a demonstration where Pro-Palestine activists interrupted a council session to demand action with shouts of “ceasefire now” causing significant disruption that led the meeting to being abandoned.

Walsall Council stated that the ban is a temporary measure, aimed at ensuring the safety of both council members and the public, citing vulnerabilities in their security protocols and raising concerns over the potential for future incidents that could compromise the council’s ability to conduct its business effectively.

The ban has implications for how Walsall residents engage with their local government. For some, attending council meetings is a direct way to stay informed, express opinions, and hold elected officials accountable. The decision to exclude the public from meetings has left some residents feeling disenfranchised and disconnected from the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

In response to the backlash, the council is reportedly considering alternative approaches to address security concerns without completely shutting out the public. This includes stricter security checks for attendees, rather than an outright ban.