Copy deadline is 9 April for May 2021 printed editions.
Let local people know you are open and working. We will be delivering our May editions of The Pioneer Magazines and Great Barr Gazette to 42,000 homes. Our magazines are hand delivered free to local people in Walsall and the surrounding areas.
People read our magazines from cover to cover and keep them for an average of two months.
We were one of the very few publications that managed to print during the first phase of the current Coronavirus crisis. We are determined to deliver news and information to local people when they need it most, and to support our local business community.
See our Bounce Back leaflet below or follow this link to see where we deliver. You can advertise with us from as little as £25 plus VAT.
Walsall siblings Arun and Priya Saini have spent the spring and summer entertaining elderly and vulnerable people living in care homes by staging online concerts.
The duo, from Streetly, have picked up their violins and streamed dozens of recitals to keep care home residents entertained while they were in lockdown, unable to receive visits from their own family and friends.
The idea came after their mother Jyoti, a clinical pharmacist, had to visit homes as part of swabbing teams at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone was in full PPE, which is disconcerting for residents when they can’t see anyone’s faces,” she said. “When I suggested playing for them online, the children were keen to do it and I contacted care homes to see if they were interested.”
The duo – Arun, aged 13, a student at Hydesville Tower School, and 10-year-old Priya, who attends Mayfield School – have played short concerts on Zoom, Skype and Whatsapp to residents as far away as Sunderland.
“Residents have been isolated for so long that we felt it was really important to do something to lift their spirits,” said Jyoti. “It’s not only ensured the children do their violin practise, but also helped elderly people enjoy something a little different, as well as support the hard working carers who look after them whilst sometimes being away from their families.”
Our September editions are dropping through letterboxes throughout the local area. If you have not yet received yours don’t miss out. You can read all three of our local editions right here.
Find out what happened to the Streetly Phone Box in our Villages edition. We’ve introduced a new Social Media Diary page. It sums up what’s been going on on our Facebook and Twitter pages over the past few weeks. See if you got a mention!
Each edition is full of local news and community initiatives. This month Dr Ron Daniels an intensive care doctor at Heartlands and Good Hope offers encouraging and balanced advice on the current Coronavirus situation.
Happy reading and thank you for helping us to do our bit to help our local community.
Our July editions of The Pioneer Magazines and Great Barr Gazette are hot off the press and will be dropping through your letterboxes in the next few days. But, if you don’t receive a copy of our printed magazines or you just can’t wait to see what’s inside, follow the link to your favourite edition and read it online!
These issues are positively brimming with local stories about local people including students at Ormiston Shelfield Community Academy, dads doing home schooling and the amazing work of our NHS Workers, Key Workers and volunteers who have made such a difference during the pandemic.
As always, we are extremely grateful to our Advertisers who even through this terribly difficult time have continued to advertise with us, ensuring that we were able to put our magazines together which we know are eagerly awaited by our readers.
A young Pheasey couple have used phenomenal initiative to ‘3D’ create hundreds of face visors for the local NHS and front line workers – completely free of charge.
Hollie Bonfield and Chris Beddard –both aged 24 – so wanted to help around the Covid-19 crisis, they sourced the design for the visors on ‘Thingiverse’ then liaised with the original designer for authorisation to ‘run with it.’
Says Hollie, who works in the finance sector: “We are printing the face visors completely free of charge – funding it ourselves. My partner Chris created the ‘pathways’ to allow it to print via his printer – set up in a spare bedroom. He loves his printer – so much so he jokes that my birthday and Christmas presents will be 3D printed!”
Chris is ‘self taught’ in using the 3D printer, and works in the day as an engineer. He adds: “We are delivering chiefly to Midland hospitals, including Russells Hall, New Cross neonatal, WMP custody nurses, John Taylor Hospice and Heartlands hospital to name a few, with more orders locally and from around the country still to be processed. Every day, throughout the day, we are continuously printing. Each visor takes half an hour each to print, and in the evenings we set to attaching the visors to the plastic printed head bands. Then we label up to send out. The visor itself is made from binding plastic as used in documents.”
Chris and Hollie say they are ‘going as fast as they can’ and are receiving praise for their work in helping to keep NHS workers as safe as possible. The WMP custody suite they are supplying is in Perry Barr, and they have taken orders for the A and E department at Walsall Manor hospital. Oaks Medical Centre on Shady Lane is using their visors in their ‘amber zone’ to allow face-to-face meetings with patients, which they say is ‘vital to them’.
The couple would like to thank ‘everyone for their support, especially Hollie’s Mum Julie and step-Dad Chris for footing the electricity bill! And add: “It’s really nothing special what we are doing, we’re just trying to help. We are the ones who should be grateful to the front line workers and are hoping this makes a difference.”
Staff at a Walsall restaurant cooked up a tasty way to thank NHS heroes working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic – by delivering fresh, tasty curry!
Dera Restaurant, in Caldmore Road, has been serving up Pakistani cuisine for nine years.
Like all restaurants, the impact of the COVID-19 has seen Dera shut its doors to diners, instead switching to a delivery service to provide food for those in lockdown.
But this month it made its most ambitious delivery ever, when it provided 100 meals for staff at the Manor Hospital.
“We have always tried to get involved in charity,” said owner Ahmed Nawaz, “and in the past we have provided food to the homeless, for instance.
“Everyone has seen the work being carried out by the staff in hospitals, and the risks they are taking to treat people with coronavirus, and I felt compelled to do something to say thank you.
“Everyone is taking part in the weekly applause to show support but I wanted to do something different, and I thought: ‘what better way than to provide them with a tasty, fresh dinner to help them recharge after all their hard work.”
So, on April 19, Ahmed and his team set about cooking 100 delicious Chicken biryani dishes, each one lovingly presented in their own box.
“I wanted to make sure that it was not too spicy, so that it was to everybody’s tastes,” he said, “and when I tasted it before we served it up it was perfect.”
The meals were then packaged up and delivered straight to staff at the hospital.
“They went straight there and were piping hot and fresh when we handed them out,” Ahmed said. “The doctors and nurses were incredibly grateful, and I was told later that within half an hour it was all gone – so it must have been popular!”
Now Ahmed is planning to repeat the exercise for the holy month of Ramadan.
“Ramadan is about to start, when Muslims go the whole day without eating, and it dawned on me that if there are staff at the Manor who are fasting then there won’t necessarily be any food available for them when they break their fast.
“After a long and tiring shift, they will need fresh food, so I have been in touch and said that we can arrange to bring in food for people to eat at the time.
“It’s the least we can do given the sacrifices the NHS staff are making. The whole of the Walsall community is pulling together – and this is just our small part of that.”
British spirit remains strong and rainbows symbolising hope are appearing across the nation. Along with the regular ‘Clap for Carers’ at 8pm every Thursday evening, people are turning to art to leave thank you messages – not only for the NHS but also for waste collectors, postal staff and others whose roles help to keep the country going.
With the UK in lockdown, most people will not have ventured far from home. Many have not left their homes for weeks so will be unaware of this inspirational artwork. Residents and readers have sent photos for everyone to enjoy.
Go to our Latest Editions page and in the Walsall Edition go to page 50 and the Aldridge Edition go to page 38 to see some of the pictures sent to us. We want more of your rainbow pictures, please email them to email@example.com by the 5th June.
Here’s the locations of the photos published.
Walkabout 1 : Clap 4 Carers, Sutton Coldfield
Walkabout 2: Stonnall
Walkabout 3 Aldridge
Walkabout 4: Stonnall
Walkabout 5: Bluecoat School, Walsall
Walkabout 6: Aldridge
Walkabout 7: Wall of Thanks, Manor Hospital
Walkabout 8: Streetly
Walkabout 9: Blackwood School, Streetly
Walkabout 10: Rainbow Runner with Minion, often spotted in Aldridge
Walkabout 11: Activity Path on Clayhanger Common
Walkabout 12: Walsall
Send us your photos so that everyone can enjoy our local artwork.
Sometimes the little things are the ones which make all the difference. Our readers have nominated the following people as ones who are ‘Going the Extra Mile’ to help others.
Courtney was nominated by her mum Shantell, who believes her daughter makes a real difference to those around her. As well as undertaking 12-hour shifts (and extra shifts) as a care worker in a local care home, Courtney has found time to make face mask extenders and scrub bags to donate to the Manor hospital.
“I suffer with pre-existing health conditions so due to her job, Courtney has had to move out to protect me,” says Shantell. “She also does my shopping regularly, as well as shopping for her nan and our elderly neighbour. She phones every day to check we’re ok – she really is my hero.”
Courtney was delighted to be nominated.
“I treat people how I want to be treated,” she says. “Seeing how the smallest things make such a difference and bring a smile to people’s faces means so much.”
She also wants to thank everyone who has donated supplies to her place of work.
“We tend to be flat out when we’re working and often our hands get red and sore,” she explains. “Just to be able to put on some hand cream, grab a quick snack or bottle of water really does help and we’re hugely grateful for the donations.”
Becky Menear & Jo Hopkins
Becky & Jo were nominated by June Wigfall, a regular attendee at a Friendship Café set up by the two ladies. The café supports vulnerable, lonely or isolated people and provides sessions which include crafting, card games, a choir – or just chatting and make friends. Becky and Jo worked for 8 months with no pay before receiving lottery funding, as well as working elsewhere.
Lockdown has meant that they have had to adapt what they offer so they now keep in touch with members via reassurance calls, both to check on wellbeing as well as a general chat. They are also collating craft, puzzle and gardening packs which they are delivering to homes.
“Some of our members haven’t spoken to anyone in a week so that human contact can be a lifeline,” says Jo. “Just to know someone is there makes a huge difference to people’s lives – and it’s lovely to know that it’s appreciated.”
“We’ve watched many of our members grow in confidence and it’s been a privilege to be a part of it. Everyone is really grateful for the support and if people need help collecting shopping /prescriptions we refer them to the right place.”
As all fund raising and events have been cancelled, the ladies would very much welcome donations of craft resources, puzzle books, compost/seeds/seed trays in order to produce their packs.
Leah, from Great Barr, is an NHS worker in a local hospital. Despite being anxious about shifts at the current time she still finds time to check in on a daily basis with her friend Anna Cresswell, who nominated her as someone who goes the extra mile.
“Leah never complains about anything and just gets on with things,” says Anna. “I’ve been furloughed from my job and I’m on my own, and I just want her to know how much I appreciate all that she does.”
The ladies have replaced their usual walks in the park and meet-ups for coffee with phone calls and video chats. Leah was really pleased to have been nominated.
“People’s mental health can really suffer when they’re cut off from the world,” she explains. “It’s tough to suddenly become isolated from family, friends and loved ones when you’re used to being with colleagues. I’m lucky that I still go to work and have some normality but it’s not like that for everyone.”
Grateful neighbour Suzanne Cleverley Smith nominated Ruth for going the extra mile. Suzanne and her family have all had Covid-19 and Ruth stepped in to help.
“Ruth is the nominated shopper for so many people,” says Suzanne. “She can be out of the house for hours, standing in queues to make sure she gets everything people need. She also walked our dogs when we needed it and I want her to know how much we appreciate it. It was her birthday on Easter Sunday and nobody could go and get her anything.”
Ruth was surprised but pleased to be nominated.
“You do whatever’s needed,” she says. “Su’s husband was critically ill in hospital and so we were only too happy to help. Su, Martin and Lexie are some of our closest friends. And I know if we needed it, she’d do the same for us.”
Teresa was nominated by colleague Joanne Yarnall for her voluntary efforts in improving the lives of parents/carers who have a responsibility for children and young people with additional support needs and disabilities. Teresa’s son has now returned home from residential college, so she is now dividing her time between caring for him as well as continuing in her voluntary role.
“Teresa has a child with profound learning difficulties, and she works tirelessly attending meetings (now online) to make sure that children with special educational needs are being looked after and are getting the help that they need,” explains Joanne. “Her work has resulted in schools contacting parents of this vulnerable group to ask if they’re ok or need any help. She never stops.”
Teresa was touched to be nominated.
“Times might be challenging but there’s still so much that needs to be done,“ says Teresa. “I have a real passion to be involved, to help shape the services of this sector and to be the voice for parents who so desperately need help.”
Russell Smith & Victoria Mosedale
Russell and Vicky were nominated by their friend Chris White who says that they deserve their nomination in recognition of their dedication and hard work.
“Russell created the Aldridge United Facebook group as a hub for providing support and information in the current crisis and he and Victoria are moderators on the group,” says Chris. “They’ve shopped for others, provided moral support and Russell has volunteered to have telephone contact with a vulnerable person. He’s started and hosts weekly quizzes and regular Zoom meetings just to have a group chat for local people. Meanwhile Vicky is collecting supplies to pass on to Acorns hospice and animal charities.”
Russell and Victoria were surprised to be nominated.
“I haven’t really done very much,” says Russell modestly. “I have a chat every couple of days with two elderly men who are both on their own. It’s ‘bloke chat’…which is what they want. And actually, I’m just about to start playing chess with one of them – we’re going to text each other our moves.”
Vicky has put sweets and books outside her home and children passing by can help themselves.
“It’s like when I was young; if you had it, you shared and nobody went without,” she reflects. “And it’s so nice to put a smile on people’s faces.”
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