St Michael’s Church in Pelsall is taking part in a national event to discover the wildlife in its churchyard.
Churches Count on Nature is a joint initiative promoted by Caring for God’s Acre, A Rocha UK, the Church of England and the Church in Wales and will take place between June 5 and 13. Over those nine days, local people are invited to record the plants, insects and birds they find in the church yard and combine their results with others’, which will be collated on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), a nationwide database of wildlife in the UK.
Schools and nurseries in the village, and other community groups, will be invited to participate in the count, but anyone can register their interest. Email: stmichaelschurchpelsall.co.uk for more information.
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.
A dedicated midwifery team has been launched in Pelsall, which will give pregnant women and their families more personalised care.
The Continuity of Carer service, at Pelsall Village Centre, will comprise a team that will support mums-to-be throughout their pregnancy, at birth and into the early stages of parenthood.
Daren Fradgley, director of integration for Walsall Healthcare Trust, said: “We are so pleased to offer a more joined up and personal approach to mums at such an important milestone in their lives.
“It has many benefits, including more co-ordinated care with a single team, ensuring all the needs of a woman and her baby are met, less hospital appointments as care is delivered in the community wherever possible, reduction in miscarriages and pre-term births and more positive outcomes for women knowing they have someone they trust and feel comfortable with supporting them all the way through their pregnancy, birth and during those first special days and weeks.”
Continuity of Carer Model Helps Deliver Pregnancy Support In Walsall
The service has been introduced following recommendations from the 2016 National Better Births Review and builds on the success of a Continuity of Carer model, which was implemented by the Wyndlow Team at the Walsall Healthcare Trust midwifery-led unit.
The model has been shown to benefit mothers and babies, with national evidence revealing women who receive continuity of carer are: seven times more likely to be attended at birth by a known midwife; have fewer antenatal admissions and a shorter postnatal stay; are 16% less likely to lose their baby; and are 24% less likely to experience pre-term birth.
Hannah Platten, interim better births lead midwife, said: “We are really excited to be part of this new approach to caring for our pregnant ladies. One of the key elements of our job is to build a relationship with our moms to be so they feel able to talk to us about their pregnancy and birth choices and raise any concerns they have confidently.
“Continuity of care also means we have a more in-depth knowledge of their individual needs, so we can provide a personalised and holistic service and they don’t have to keep explaining their history to a different midwife every time they have an appointment. I am really proud of the dedication and enthusiasm shown by the Harmony Midwifery Team as we embark on this new way of working.”
Correction: This article was updated on 29 March, 2021 to clarify that much of the area of Great Barr Hall is privately-owned and cannot be accessed by the public.
As the New Year kicks in, resolutions for a healthier year begin. How about burning off your Christmas treats and starting 2021 walking around some fabulous local, hidden gems.
We at SmallHouseBigTrips have you covered with some of our personal favourites. But sshhh – remember, it’s a secret!
Great Barr Hall, Sutton’s Drive, B43 7BA
A hidden gem that even we didn’t know about until lockdown in March 2020. Much of the grounds of the Great Barr Hall estate is privately-owned with no public right of way. However, Sutton Drive and the land situated to the East of Sutton Drive are beautiful, public open spaces.
Holly Wood Nature Reserve, Whitecrest, B43 6EA
Enter the nature reserve through a magical gate where you will be greeted with 5 hectares of mixed broadleaf woodland and wet meadow. Trees to climb, a stream to paddle in and the largest blanket of bluebells in spring.
Park Lime Pits Nature Reserve, Rushall, WS4 2HH
A former limestone quarry in the woods, this woodland walk has a rope swing over one of the two clear pools, horses, walking trails and plenty of streams for little ones to paddle in.
For nature lovers, there are over 300 species of plants and it is the home to over 100 species of birds.
Cuckoo’s Nook and The Dingle, Walsall, WS9 0PQ
Cuckoo’s Nook is an ancient woodland over 400 years old full of acidic loving trees like holly, oak, birch and alder, winding picturesque paths and a sea of bluebells during spring. Step into The Dingle part of the walk and you enter an area surrounded by hawthorn, ash, beech and elder trees.
It is the perfect place to learn about geology as you enjoy your walk,through the woodland flowers, by the babbling Longwood Brook running next to the path.
There’s a rope swing and little bridges for children and keep your eyes out for the wishing tree which is decorated beautifully throughout the year. Recently it had Christmas lights, tinsel and other decorations.
Sot’s Hole Nature Reserve, B71 4DE
A fabulous circular route starting at Sot’s Hole Nature Reserve, walking through the ancient woodland, looking at wooden statues and various species of plants, leading through to Sandwell Valley Farm seeing cows and horses, before following the path all the way round back to the car. Fields, woodland and kissing gates. Make for some perfect exploring.
Church services may be subject to change in line with national and local restrictions, so you will need to contact individual churches before attending in order to book your space. Many of our churches were unable to provide details before we went to press.
Aldridge Methodist Church
Anchor Rd, Aldridge WS9 8PT
Christmas Day 10.30am: Christmas Day service
Our carol service will be via Zoom and we are exploring the possibility of a Christingle service.
Please call or check our facebook page for updated details.
Tynings Lane Church
Tynings Lane, Aldridge WS9 0AS
Sat 19th Dec 4-8pm: Church is open to drop in for a carol and prayer experience (no need to book, spend as much or as little time as you like).
Sun 20th Dec 4pm: All Age Christmas experience. Come dressed up and explore Christmas as a family.
Christmas Eve 6pm: Christingle on Zoom. Get in touch for your Christingle in a bag and a zoom invite to join in Christingle wherever you are.
Christmas Eve 9:30pm: Midnight in Bethlehem. A communion service.
Christmas Eve 11:30pm: Midnight Communion
Christmas Day 9:30am: Christmas morning Communion for all ages
The Calvary Pentecostal Church
Brickiln Street, Brownhills, WS8 6AU
Christmas Day, Communion Service 11am-12noon
Sunday 27th December, Communion Service, 10.30am
Clayhanger Methodist Church
Clayhanger Lane, Clayhanger WS8 7DS
Sunday Services have recommenced fortnightly at 4pm.
1st & 3rd Sundays in the month
Contact for details of Christmas services.
Pelsall Evangelical Church
Old Town Lane, Pelsall WS3 4NJ
Sun 13th Dec 6pm: Carol Services
Sun 20th Dec 6pm: Carol Service
Christmas Day 10am: Christmas Morning Family Service
Sun 20th Dec Carol Service: A pre-recorded version available to view online via our Facebook page
Christmas Eve 6pm: A pre-recorded children’s Christmas bedtime story which will go online via our Facebook page
Christmas Eve 10pm & 11.30pm: Midnight Mass services
Christmas Day 10am: Holy Communion service
Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions on numbers, places will need to be booked at these services by ringing the church office on 0121 357 8941 or emailing email@example.com and social distancing must be observed, face coverings worn and sanitising guidelines followed.
St Matthew’s Church
Aldridge Road/Birdbrook Road, Perry Beeches, B44 8RA
For these services you will need to ‘book a pew’ by phoning the office on 0121 360 6964
Sun 20th Dec 6pm: Carol Service
Christmas Eve 6pm: Crib Service for all ages
11.30pm: Midnight Mass
You can join in our phone-in worship now and over the Christmas period. All you need is your phone, and it’s a free number from most phones (if in doubt check with your provider.) Every Tue. and Thur. at 8pm, and Sundays at 10.30am. Just phone 0333 011 0616, and then when asked enter the code 1499 488#. For regular updates please visit www.stmatthewsperrybeeches.org.uk
Beacon Evangelical Church
Sandwell Road, Handsworth, B21 8NH
Our Christmas services should be available online on our YouTube channel, Beacon Evangelical Church Handsworth:
Sun 20th Dec 11am: live streaming of our Christmas Family Outreach Service (Those who wish to attend in person should contact the church in advance to access our booking system).
Christmas Day service will premiere at 10.30am on YouTube.
Perry Hall Methodist Church
Rocky Lane, Perry Barr, B42 1QF
At the time of writing we are unsure how we will celebrate Christmas this year, but we will be celebrating! If you would like to join us, please look at the latest information on our website https://www.perryhallmethodist.org.uk/
Aldridge based Knight & Doyle Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning have helped two local community organisations with free carpet cleaning at the Stan Ball Centre in Bloxwich and donating a fogging machine and solutions to Pelsall Community Centre.
Both organisations were working very hard to re-open their services whilst making their premises Covid safe. Pelsall Councillor Garry Perry told us these activities have been given the name ‘reset opportunities’ because organisations have to reset their offer to service users. He explained that the key issue surrounding re-opening is one of confidence. Not confidence in organisations but giving people the confidence that they are coming into a Covid secure environment. This has put cleanliness and hygiene at the forefront of welcoming people back.
The Stan Ball Centre contacted Knight & Doyle for a quote to clean the carpets in the daycare room for the elderly. They had already received some quotes so were amazed when Knight & Doyle said they would do this for free! They cleaned a 60sqm room and also donated bottles of sanitiser. Chief Executive Eleanor said, “They arrived as planned, worked hard and we are really pleased with the results, our carpets look like new.” She continued “We are a charity and really appreciate when companies share our vision of supporting the local community and help us out along the way.”
The Stan Ball Centre is run by the local charity Bloxwich Community Partnership and provides adult care and support for adults of all ages.
When Knight & Doyle director, Rich Doyle, saw his local community centre were fundraising for a fogging machine, the business stepped up. They contacted Keir Pedley, Chair of the centre and not only donated the fogging machine, but also donated the solutions needed to run the machine and trained centre volunteers and cleaners on how to use it.
The fogging machine will be used to sanitise smaller meeting rooms between uses, and can be used by centre staff, volunteers and people hiring the rooms. This will allow for deep yet timely cleansing of the rooms so more people can use them. Pelsall Community Centre is used by a diverse range of people from youth and disabled groups to charities and the Townswomen’s Guild for all kinds of activities and sports.
Garry Perry said “Throughout the Covid pandemic I’ve seen countless local acts of kindness from both individuals and businesses. This is just one example of a business providing help to a local volunteer led organisation to add value to reset opportunities as we all learn to live with Covid. Without people like Knight & Doyle Pelsall Community Centre would be dipping into charitable funds. The rising stars of Covid are people doing things not for their own personal gain but to support local organisations.”
Knight & Doyle’s Rich Doyle said, “We are just pleased that we’ve been able to help out two centres in our local area that do so much for local people. Since the start of the Covid situation we’ve also sanitised the cars of NHS workers free of charge and this is something we continue to offer, as our time allows.”
After months of closure The Watch has finally reopened at Pelsall Village Centre and MP Wendy Morton enjoyed a visit to catch up with their latest news.
The Watch is a community initiative which offers crime prevention and safety advice. As well as information leaflets regarding many aspects of safety and security, there is also an expanding list of products which can be bought at cost price. These include car steering locks, padlocks and TV simulators which give the impression that someone is home.
Residents who have concerns around personal safety and security are free to drop by and chat to experienced volunteer Edwin Venables. The Watch also enables Neighbourhood Watch sign ups and hosts community safety presentations for Walsall residents.
It is currently open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm. Before setting out it is always worth contacting Edwin to make sure there is someone there (contact details below).
They are currently looking for volunteers to help the community with tackling crime and helping residents with reassurance.
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.
Philosopher George Santayana once remarked that ‘a child only educated in school is an uneducated child.’
With lockdown removing most children from the classrooms, home schooling has been the ‘new normal’ for many.
“Opportunities to learn surround us in everything we do – it doesn’t just happen in school,” explained Head Teacher Helen Wright.
“Give a child your time and attention and they will learn and remember more than they will ever in the classroom.”
Parents across the country have risen to the challenge and we catch up with a couple of local dads in charge of lockdown lessons.
Rob Pearson swapped his day-to-day job as a building maintenance systems engineer for teacher when schools closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His daughter Isabel, who attends Park Hall Infants Academy, enjoyed daily lessons from dad, while his school teacher wife Cassie continued her day job.
As well as the 3 Rs, Rob and Isabel enjoyed regular nature lessons – signing up for a five-week bird-watching survey with the British Ornithological Trust (BTO) and planting flowers and tracking them as they grew.
There was also plenty of play-style learning to help keep Isabel’s three-year-old brother Toby occupied, too.
The pièce de resistance for Rob was the science lessons – making different paper aeroplanes and measuring how far they fly, and building a wind turbine out of tin cans.
“I’ve been wanting to make one for a couple of years and as we had the chance to do it, we made it one of our projects,” said Rob, who was placed on furlough in April.
“Isabel helped where she could, with the gluing, looking at the instructions, and holding the pole in place, but I did the cutting and twisting the blades because the edges were sharp. It’s still in the garden now and looks great. I’ve enjoyed doing it for the past few weeks.”
It was DIY and science that Stuart Webb’s children enjoyed when he supervised their lockdown lessons.
The Aldridge dad of two, who works as a service manager for Walsall Council’s leisure services department, worked throughout the lockdown period, but was able to do the lessons when he took annual leave.
Martha, aged eight and in year four at Cooper & Jordan School, and her brother Henry, who is 11 and in year six at the school, have spent most of their time being supervised by their mother Kelly, who works at Bloxwich Leisure Centre as swimming instructor and receptionist.
But Stuart, who admitted he felt guilty about not being able to dedicate the same time to doing lessons with his children because of working, he ensured he did his bit on his days off.
His favourite project? A challenge from the school to create something from marbles – with his children, they collected old timber from the garage and other bits and bobs to make a pinball machine, which worked brilliantly, he said.
“We came up with the idea and they both did the sawing, drilling and hammering to make it – the kids absolutely loved it,” he said.
In fact, Martha enjoyed woodwork so much she enlisted Stuart to help her make a birdhouse from offcuts of wood.
Stuart also enjoyed a wind power science experiment that the children were asked to do at home, with cardboard, string and a hairdryer.
“We’ve also been on plenty of walks and bike rides, while Henry has been able to practise some cricket as the nets opened at Aldridge Cricket Club,” he added.