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.
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/
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.
Organised by former students Isobel Higgins and Alex Banks, the challenging project saw the pair galvanise 15 other students and staff members to take part in a video performing Seasons of Love from the musical Rent.
19-year-old Isobel, who is now studying English as well as working full-time, said the project was the ideal vehicle for rekindling old friendships.
“A small number of us remain in contact as close friends and had always had a dream of getting a group together to sing Seasons of Love,” she said.
“Being stuck in lockdown seemed like the perfect opportunity, especially given the message of the song. As we reached out to more people, this dream became a reality, comprising ex and current staff and students from Shelfield, all of whom maintain a passion for the creative arts.”
She said co-ordinating the 17-strong chorus over two weeks was challenging, but rules, schedules and deadlines for each musician and singer were all communicated via social media
“We received back a set of wonderful performances, which Alex was able to edit,” continued Isobel. “She definitely had the most difficult job and she executed it with such professionalism and positivity.
“I am incredibly proud of every person involved in the project as the outcome has been incredible, thanks to every person’s commitment to their roles in the project.”
Alex, who is studying Media Production at Birmingham City University, said she took on the task of editing to use it in her showreel as part of her degree, but said it quickly “became a joy to work on and put together”.
“I felt that I had a great deal of responsibility in this project and it challenged me greatly through time management and organisation,” she said. “This video really helped me feel a sense of togetherness during lockdown and I hope that it creates the same feeling for others, too.”
Stuart Turnbull, the Academy’s principal, said he was proud of the efforts made by the school’s past and present students.
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.
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.
Telephone ordering available for groceries. Collection or delivery available for local postcodes. Please do not abuse this service; it is meant for those self-isolating or those who cannot get out and it is staffed by volunteers
ORCHARD HILLS BAKERY
Bread, sourdough, cakes & pastries
WATER FILTER GUY
RO drinking water purification for home on tap
Online order & same day delivery service for homes within 3 miles of WS4 1AT. Download the App from the App store or Playstore or order via the website