Published on October 26th, 2022 | by Gaelle Finley



Antrobus Road Residents’ Action Group came together for their third action day on Saturday October 22nd 2022, with a raft of new activities, based in three locations.

As usual, a group of local volunteers gathered in and around Antrobus Road to do a litter-pick, and an Information stall was set up to act as a focal point including leaflets about rubbish disposal, safety and security, and the forthcoming StreetWatch.

The local Fire Brigade joined them to distribute free fire alarms to the households who do not possess one*.





A group of Squirrel Scouts, plus parents and scout leader Saroj assembled in Laurel Road Sports and Community Centre to listen to a brief talk about the importance of litter picking, the environment and how we can act to improve it. They then went litter picking to St Andrews Community Centre, where an art workshop was prepared for all local children.

Saroj: We had the weather on our side on Saturday and I can’t believe what a downfall of rain we’ve had on the Sunday! I’ve had so many lovely messages from the parents about how much their children enjoyed the litter picking. Here are some of them:

We are so glad we got involved in this community project. The Squirrel scouts have earned criteria towards their community badge which is brilliant.

Dania really enjoyed herself today x

Xenxo had a great time

Jeevan had a fabulous time too xx

The art workshop in St Andrews was led by celebrated mural artist Bunny Bread (he of the famous Lozells and Handsworth Park murals). ARRAG wanted to ask the young generation for their ideas, which would form the basis for the forthcoming murals. The children, accompanied by their parents, were given the following brief:

Art in the alleyways: brighten up our streets!

What’s important to you?

What would you like to see in your street or area?

What would you like to see on the alleyway walls?

We need your ideas!

Come and paint, draw, write, sketch – or just describe!

The children were then given coloured pens and paper, and let free to create their visions and suggestions. Here are a few of them.

A big thank you for the samosas and sweets waiting for us at St Andrews. The children enjoyed receiving their stickers and their engagement with Bunny was great to see.

Thanks for planning a lovely day 😊 x

Thanks for organising, Nkechi had a fabulous time x

ARRAG also decided to increase the visuals they had already installed in the street on the second action day – these range from decorative banners with our motto ‘These Streets Are Made For Walking’, ‘Fill your street with friendliness’, to the sterner ‘No fly tipping, No dumping, No litter’. The banners are situated at each end of Antrobus Road and it is hoped that the positive messages will help create a supportive environment.

Ruth, a resident, was keen to stress: ‘We are not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for each and every resident of the street. We’re not being paid to do this, we’re volunteers who want to make a lasting difference’.

To wind up the day, a member of the ARRAG Planning group and local resident Haroon Sarwar presented each member of the Planning group with a bunch of flowers, and Naomi and Gaelle with a recognition tray which read ‘Special Recognition Award – For all your hard work and efforts within the local community’. This unexpected gesture was very much appreciated and some of us felt very emotional about it.

* * *

Antrobus Road is a very handsome road, wide, leafy, lined with beautiful trees, and very long. Unfortunately it is sometimes defiled by some inconsiderate and selfish people who think nothing of degrading the environment we live in (often not their own). The residents’ action group was formed in 2019 by Naomi (Chair), Gaelle (Treasurer), and Bev (our then Secretary who sadly left us). Our aim was to mobilise a group of street activists (the key word here being action, rather than just words) who would regularly meet in order to see what could be done about the dire litter situation. We are now working closely with residents in other local streets, we have an active Planning group, a mailing list of 42 residents and many more supporters. We now also have access to a range of local organisations, helpful contacts and official stakeholders.

In 2021, Birmingham City Council set up the Celebrating Communities Fund which offered grants to groups involved in celebrating the Commonwealth Games and their legacy on the local community.

The Council approved ARRAG’S proposal, with the theme ‘These Streets Are Made For Walking – Do we want our streets and alleyways to be safe and clean?’

The first action day was in Spring, on 2nd April 2022.

The group had decided to cover all the issues which were of concern to the residents: litter and dumping of course, but also the increase in traffic which was resulting in damage to the residents’ vehicles, dog fouling on the pavements, and wheelie bins and other items being used to save parking spaces on the road. We had an active presence of local fire service and local police on this first day. (See details in: http://www.insidehandsworth.co.uk/2022/04/community-action-day-makes-history/)

The second action day was during the Summer, on 2nd July 2022.

The group continued its litter-picking and information activities, with the local police knocking on doors to address any residents’ concerns, and the local fire brigade continuing to distribute fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Following the action day, Selena Ellis of ‘Love Your Streets’ brought together a range of Council services to support the project: the combined work of teams from Street Cleansing, Waste Management, Waste Enforcement and Waste Prevention meant that the street and alleyways were wonderfully swept and cleaned, with fly-tipping/rubbish collected and graffiti removed. (See details in: http://www.insidehandsworth.co.uk/2022/07/these-streets-are-made-for-walking-pt-2/)

ARRAG are keen to involve everyone in their continuing projects: residents, landlords and housing providers so they can make a lasting change.

*To request a fire alarm or a carbon monoxide alarm, contact the West Midlands Fire Service onbenjamin.virgo@wmfs.net, or call free on 0800 389 5525.

And to finish with, let us thank you all for your ongoing help and support, and wish you all a very gentle autumn, with this beautiful photo taken by one of our volunteers, of the grass area down the middle of Grove Lane.

* * *

The group usually meet every 6 weeks, and every resident is welcome to join.

The next meeting is on Monday November 14th at 7.30pm at St Andrews. It will be run as a hybrid meeting with the option to attend on Zoom if you can’t get to the meeting.

Contact ARRAG:

– email: arraginfo@gmail.com

– Twitter: @AntrobusB21

– Facebook: via Inside Handsworth

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